De-escalating and Resolving Conflict


Conflict often arises from two places and as it escalates the starting point of the conflict becomes blurred.

Core values not being met 

Rarely is a disagreement about surface issues. Determine what’s most important to an employee or co-worker by understanding their core values. Use the insight to help create long-lasting solutions based on what will satisfy all parties involved.

Interpretations Of Events Differ

Recognize that all we all have individual lenses and filters through which we see and respond to our environments — and no two are the same. Deciphering the code and seeing things from the perspectives of others offers you a new way to understand and approach problems. We do this through effective communication, asking, listening, clarifying, withholding judgement.


Understanding the What’s In It For Me position is critical. It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in. Be able to discuss what is important to the other person(s) involved and to share what is important to you in a calm manner will help reduce tension and reassure others that the goal is to achieve the best outcome for everyone involved.


Identify what you see in neutral, objective terms. This is where you describe the facts of the situation as objectively as possible.

What is actually happening?

When and how is it happening?

What is the other person doing or saying that you believe is contributing to the conflict?

What are you doing that may be contributing to the conflict?

Cite observable facts only.

Avoid assuming or guessing what the other person is thinking or doing. Ask, listen, clarify, reserve judgement.

Avoid ‘owning’ the other person’s behaviour.

Expect accountability from all parties.


1.          What would you like to see happen?

2.          What would it take for us to be able to move forward?

3.          How do we get there?

4.          What impact has this had on you?

5.          Are you open to hearing my perspective on this?

6.          What ideas do you have that will meet both our needs?

7.          What is your biggest concern about this situation?

8.          What is the most important to you?


Often in conflict we feel the other person(s) involved owe us an apology and it is understandable that offering an apology in such a situation seems counter intuitive. However, usually everyone involved has done something to create and sustain the conflict.

Even when we believe we are ‘right’ conflicts will stay active unless we can move off our position and be focussed on resolution. Regardless of how insignificant we see our role in a conflict someone needs to take the initiative to resolve it.

You’re not accepting the blame; you’re taking responsibility for your contribution to the situation. When someone feels defensive indicating that you see your role in the situation helps him or her step away from an entrenched position.

Appreciate ProblemSolutionID-10082460

Tell them why it’s worth it to you to solve the conflict. This can be difficult as few people find it easy to praise and appreciate a person they disagree strongly with, but it’s a great way to move forward.

Choose your battles wisely.

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