How do I handle conflicts without avoiding them or making things worse?

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How do I handle conflicts without avoiding them or making things worse?

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, whether at work, home, or in social settings. Handling it effectively, without avoidance or escalation, is a crucial skill that can help maintain relationships and create a positive environment. In this article, we’ll explore 14 effective conflict resolution techniques, including those endorsed by Project Management Professionals (PMP), to guide you through the process of resolving disputes in a constructive manner.

Understanding Conflict Resolution

Before diving into specific techniques, it’s important to understand what conflict resolution is. It’s the process by which two or more parties work towards a solution to a disagreement or dispute. Effective conflict resolution results in mutual benefit, improved relationships, and better communication.

Conflict Resolution Process

by Erol Ahmed (

14 Effective Conflict Resolution Techniques

These techniques can be tailored to various situations, ensuring that you have a robust toolkit for handling conflicts as they arise.

1. Active Listening

Active listening involves fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively hearing the message. It shows respect for the speaker and allows for a clearer understanding of the issues at hand.

2. Acknowledging Emotions

Recognize and acknowledge the emotions involved in the conflict. This can help de-escalate tension and show empathy towards all parties.

3. Open Communication

Encourage an open dialogue where everyone gets a chance to speak without interruption. This fosters a collaborative environment where solutions can be found.

4. Addressing Issues Directly

Avoiding conflict can often make it worse. Address issues directly with the parties involved to prevent misunderstandings and resentment from festering.

5. Seeking Common Ground

Find areas of agreement that can serve as a foundation for resolving more contentious issues. This helps build momentum towards a compromise.

6. Focusing on the Problem, Not the Person

When discussing the conflict, focus on the problem at hand rather than personal attributes of the individuals involved. This maintains a professional and objective tone.

7. Avoiding Blame

Assigning blame can make parties defensive and less willing to cooperate. Instead, focus on the actions and how they can be improved.

8. Exploring Alternatives

Brainstorm different ways to resolve the conflict. Be open to creative solutions that might satisfy all parties involved.

9. Considering the Consequences

Discuss the potential outcomes of various resolutions. This can help parties understand the impact of their decisions and encourage more thoughtful solutions.

10. Compromising

Sometimes the best resolution is a compromise where each party gives something up. Strive for a balance that is acceptable to all.

11. Collaboration

Work together to find a win-win solution. Collaboration can often lead to a better outcome than what either party could achieve on their own.

12. Using “I” Statements

Communicate your feelings and perspectives without making accusations by using “I” statements. This can prevent the other party from feeling attacked and becoming defensive.

13. Keeping an Open Mind

Be willing to change your perspective and consider the views of others. This openness can lead to more effective and agreeable solutions.

14. Seeking Mediation

If conflicts are too challenging to resolve internally, consider seeking the help of a neutral third party who can mediate the discussion and help find a resolution.

Group Mediation Session

by Nick Abrams (

PMP Conflict Resolution Techniques

Project Management Professionals often face conflicts in the course of managing projects. They rely on specific strategies to resolve disputes effectively. Here are some PMP-endorsed techniques:

Problem Solving

This involves analyzing the problem, identifying the root cause, and working collaboratively to find a solution that satisfies all parties.


Sometimes, a decisive action is needed to resolve a conflict, especially when a quick resolution is required. This technique, however, should be used sparingly as it may lead to resentment.


Avoiding a conflict is a short-term strategy that can be useful when a conflict is trivial or when more information is needed before confronting the issue.


Focusing on areas of agreement rather than differences can lower tensions and create a more amicable environment for resolving conflicts.


As mentioned earlier, compromising involves finding a middle ground where each party concedes some points in favor of reaching an agreement.

Implementing Conflict Resolution Techniques

To implement these techniques effectively, consider the following steps:

Understand the Context

Every conflict is unique. Understand the specifics of the situation before choosing your approach.

Practice Empathy

Try to see the conflict from the other party’s perspective. This can help you find solutions that address everyone’s needs.

Maintain Professionalism

No matter the intensity of the conflict, always maintain a professional demeanor. This sets the tone for a constructive resolution.

Follow Up

After a resolution has been reached, follow up with all parties involved to ensure that the agreement is being upheld and that the underlying issues have been addressed.


Conflict resolution is a multifaceted skill that requires patience, empathy, and strategic thinking. By employing these 14 effective techniques, you’ll be better equipped to handle disputes without avoiding them or making things worse. Remember that the goal is not to win an argument, but to find a solution that benefits everyone involved. With practice and a thoughtful approach, you can turn conflicts into opportunities for growth and collaboration.

Handshake after Conflict Resolution

by Emad El Byed (

By mastering these techniques, you’ll not only resolve conflicts more effectively but also contribute to a more harmonious and productive environment wherever you are.