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Two people in conflict in a cafe

Essential skills for mastering conflict resolution

04 Mar 2024
People 1st International

Conflict is inevitable in any setting, but in the business world, unresolved disagreements can be costly. From customer complaints to internal misunderstandings, conflict can:

  • Damage customer relationships – upset customers lead to lost business and negative reviews
  • Decrease employee engagement and productivity – conflict creates stress and tension, hindering performance and morale
  • Hinder team collaboration – unresolved disagreements impede teamwork and project progress


Equipping your employees with effective conflict resolution skills can mitigate these negative impacts and create a more positive, productive work environment. Here, we explore two key skill areas:


Skill 1: Emotional intelligence

Understanding and managing one’s emotions, as well as recognising and responding to the emotions of others, is crucial for navigating conflict effectively. By improving their emotional intelligence, your employees can:

  • Decode unspoken emotions
    Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice provide valuable clues that enhance their understanding of the situation and inform their response
  • Manage triggers effectively
    Recognising personal triggers empowers them to respond calmly and assertively, avoiding impulsive reactions that escalate conflict
  • Stay motivated and solution-oriented
    Understanding the emotional drivers of a conflict keeps them focused on finding a mutually beneficial resolution
  • Communicate clearly and listen actively
    Emotional awareness fosters clear self-expression and attentive listening, building trust and promoting collaboration
  • Influence outcomes with empathy
    Recognising the other person’s emotions allows them to tailor their communication for maximum impact, guiding the conversation towards a win-win solution


Skill 2: Stress relief

The pressure of conflict can trigger employees’ fight-or-flight response, leading to stress and hindering their ability to think clearly. When faced with a heated discussion, it’s crucial to employ stress-management techniques to maintain composure and engage constructively.

Here are four effective strategies to help them:

  • Deep breathing
    Encourage your team to focus on their inhales and exhales, anchoring themselves in the present moment. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting balance and clarity, even in heated situations.
  • Mindful movement
    Suggest gentle stretches, standing up and walking around, or even stepping outside for fresh air. This simple act stimulates the prefrontal cortex, enhancing rational thinking and emotional regulation, allowing them to return to the conversation with a calmer perspective.
  • Strategic breaks
    Encourage employees to excuse themselves for a few minutes when needed. A short breather allows them to process emotions, regroup mentally, and return to the conversation with renewed composure and a better chance of reaching a constructive resolution.
  • Calming mantras
    Suggest phrases like “This is not about me” or “I can handle this.” Repeating these silently or aloud can provide a sense of inner peace and keep them focused on finding solutions rather than reacting impulsively.


Investing in conflict resolution skills

Our WorldHost Dealing with Conflict programme equips your team with strategies, communication tools, and conflict resolution models to tackle even the most challenging situations with confidence and grace. Get in touch today to discover more.

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