Step by Step Guide to Conflict Resolution


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In this video, Galen shares a step by step guide to conflict resolution for leaders or individuals to facilitate or personally walk through a face to face conversation to solve conflicts.

1. Share, listen, repeat back.

Both parties sit down and begin by having an opportunity to share their experience and thoughts, one at a time. Whomever goes first will take as much time as needed to share their feelings and perspective while the other only listens.

Important guidelines for this phase of the process:

  1. It’s important for the person sharing to stick to “I” statements and use language that frames their own experience and feelings. For example “When such and such happens, I feel like…” instead of “You always…” Avoid using language that accuses the other person of what they’ve been doing wrong or attempts to label what kind of person they are. Stick to your experience and how you’re feeling.

  2. The person doing the listening should do so without giving any feedback. During this time, they don’t interrupt or try to defend anything being said, regardless of what they hear. It’s also important that they avoid eye rolling, or sighing, or any other visual or audible forms of feedback and interjections. Their role while the other person is sharing is simply to listen, that’s it.

After the first person speaks, the listener then accurately recounts back what they heard and what was said. “This is exactly what I heard you say… When I do this and this, or when this situation happens, you feel like this,” etc. Fully and accurately recounting what was said by the first person.

The person who shared will confirm the accuracy of what was heard and make adjustments and clarifications as needed. “That’s not totally accurate, how I actually feel is… until they get to “Yes, that is what’s going on for me.”

Now the roles are reversed and the other person will have a chance to share their experience, perspective, and feelings. Same rules apply for both people. Once the second person has finished sharing, the listener will recount back what they heard with clarifications until they are both crystal clear and have both been heard.

2. Identify the heart of the issue.

Now that both parties have shared and listened to each other and everything is out in the air, identify together the root of the conflict. Ask questions and dig deeper to clarify and understand the unmet needs of both parties and drill down to discover the heart of the disagreement.

3. Identify a goal and action plan.

Identify a goal and desired outcome that works for both parties, and then agree on a clear action plan to get there. As part of this process, acknowledge the factors that contributed to the current situation in order to create awareness and avoid a similar outcome. Get specific about the process and roles and responsibilities of each person moving forward, how both will contribute to the agreed upon solution, and the steps to get there.

It’s not easy to do this. Navigating conflict is easily the most difficult dynamic of interacting with other humans. Becoming proficient at it takes time and practice and finding resolution requires earnest effort on both sides. End the conversation on a positive note with clear guidelines and expectations. Make sure both people come away willing to contribute to the situation differently and create a sustained, mutually beneficial resolution.

This content was created by Galen Emanuele for the #shiftyestribe. Free leadership and team culture content centered on a new focus every month. Subscribe at