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Lesson time estimate: 8 Minutes

You will be using an eight-step process to work through your de-escalation tactics.  You will find that the majority of the steps focus the attention on what is going on inside you as a conflict solver. This is important as this ensures the focus is on what is in your circle of control. As conflicts are the incompatibility of goals you contribute 50% to the conflict situation. By paying equal attention to your contributions to the conflict situation you signal to your counterpart that you are open to working together towards a solution. Your main tools for conflict resolution are analysis, problem-solving, active listening and communication.

It is important to pinpoint what exactly is going on. Use the model to verbalise how you perceive the conflict to allow your counterpart to follow your thoughts. Acknowledge their opinion and apologise for your part of the contribution to the situation.

Step 1 to 4 aims to create the foundation for win-win negotiations:

  1. Respond calm: Stay calm and breathe deeply 3 times and acknowledge your own emotional state.
  2. Observe: Listen carefully and choose to respond aiming for a win-win solution rather than to react with fight, freeze or flight.
  3. Remove onlookers and create a safe environment. Onlookers make conflict resolution extremely complex as they are at risk to become victims or cheerleaders.
  4. Neutralise: Stay confident. Use a firm but relaxed stand, open body language and direct gaze, and a friendly but serious face.

Conflicts on a higher level are more heated and will have a greater need for creating a positive atmosphere so a resolution can take place.

Conflict resolution steps

Step 5-8 apply the tools learned in the previous topics:

5. Analyse counterpart:

  • What conflict solver style are you dealing with?
  • Are they a conflict avoider or seeker?
  • Are they having a good or a bad day?


6. Classify the level and type of conflict and the type of resistance behaviour you are dealing with.
7. Set a fair, ideally common goal.
8. Then pursue to Love it, Change it or Leave it.

Use the checklist on page 10 of your workbook to measure, practice and improve your conflict resolution capability in change.

After the next event complete the reflection with the checklist to baseline your skill. Over time keep coming back to the checklist to work on improving your skills. With practice, the eight-step conflict resolution tactics will enable you to stay confident and calm during conflict resolution and resistance mediation.