Keys to Focus on for Dispute Resolution

Disputes are common but just like any other problem, they too can be resolved by focusing on the positive side rather than the negative side. The key to dispute resolution is listening and understanding the needs, concerns and perspectives of each other. When you are having trouble consider bringing in an unbiased third party to help with  mediation or negotiation.

Everyone of us has experienced conflicts and miscommunications during our lives that have affected us in some way or the other. Whether in a workplace dispute or a dispute among family members or friends, this needs to be resolved or the situation may further deteriorate and become even worse. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.  When it comes to workplace disputes, you need to keep our patience level high so that there is no counter reaction from your side. However, being patient can be a tough call in some situations. You may overreact, which further makes it difficult to resolve the dispute.

When you have disputes at work you need to address these situations quickly and appropriately. Disputes often arise due to misunderstandings or miscommunication with co-workers, supervisors, vendors, suppliers, subordinates, shareholders, and other stakeholders. When these disputes occur and aggravate us even further, it affects not only us individually but the entire organization by reducing productivity, wasting time and resources, losing customers, reducing teamwork opportunities, increasing poor morale and in other negative ways.

However, just like any other problem there is a solution. There are dispute resolution techniques that can help in resolving issues in the workplace. Disputes give you an opportunity to correct misunderstandings, work with others to overcome differences, and provide a chance for better relationships going forward. Every dispute you may experience at work gives you an opportunity to improve the situation, get out of the deadlock and make the other party feel satisfied.

Generally, disputes have two faces, one is destructive and the other is constructive. The destructive dispute occurs due to stubbornness, not willing to patch up or understand each other’s perspectives leading to pain, damage and loss. On the other hand, constructive disputes bring reconciliation, forgiveness, better understanding and creative solutions. We all possess the capability to see both sides of a dispute. However, initially our natural response is protective and negative. Realizing this and stepping back it is possible to focus on a more constructive approach. To move from a destructive to a constructive path, you need to listen to the other party and understand their perspective of the situation. To succeed at this, you need to practice your skills and refuse to go along with the temptation to focus on the negative or destructive responses.

Dispute Resolution

When it comes to dispute resolution the first and foremost thing we need to do is to keep calm, defuse anger and facilitate communication. Fundamental to dispute resolution is respect.  Building mutual respect and encouraging each other to resolve the issue in a co-operative way is the key.  For achieving the same, you need to:

Make Good Relationships a Priority

You both need to understand the cause of the dispute, how it affects you and the other party and make sure to resolve the issue through respectful negotiation instead of being aggressive and making assumptions by suspending judgment. It is essential for both of you to work cooperatively, effectively and without resentment in order to make everyone function effectively.

Keep Problems and People Separate

It is necessary for both of you to realize each other’s perspectives, needs, feelings, interests, goals and concerns to resolve the dispute. You need to think beyond the problem. Keep everything positive with courteous conversations and make sure to stay away from the blame game.

Listen Carefully Before You Talk

Be empathetic while listening to the point of view of the other person. Let them finish their talk before you speak, and make sure to emphasize that you too want to address the situation and move on. Ask open ended questions to expand understanding and to have a clearer understanding of the issue so that resolution becomes easier.

If you still feel that this approach to dispute resolution is not working you may want to consider  bringing on board someone to help. This may be an unbiased third party who can bridge the gap between you  and the other party to bring out a mutually beneficial solution.

Author Information:

This article is written by Michael Gregory Consulting, LLC. Michael Gregory is a professional mediator and negotiator.. Visit to find out more.