Eastern Michigan University

Resolving Conflict One-on-One

  1. Talk with the other person
    1. Ask the other person when it would be convenient to meet
    2. Arrange to meet in a place where you won't be interrupted
  2. Focus on behavior and events
    1. Say “When this happens...” instead of “When you do..."
    2. Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalizing
  3. Listen carefully
    1. Listen to what the other person is saying instead of preparing to react
    2. Avoid interrupting the other person
    3. After the other person finishes speaking, rephrase what was said to make sure you understand it
    4. Ask questions to clarify your understanding
  4. Identify where you agree and disagree
    1. Summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement
    2. Ask if he or she agrees with your assessment
    3. Modify your assessment until you both agree on areas of conflict
  5. Prioritize the areas of conflict
    1. Discuss which areas of conflict are most important to each of you to resolve
  6. Develop a plan to work on each
    1. Focus on the future
    2. Set up future meeting times to continue your important discussions
  7. Follow up on your plan
    1. Stick with the discussions until you’ve worked through each area of conflict
    2. Maintain a collaborative, “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude
  8. Build on your success
    1. Look for opportunities to point out progress
    2. Compliment the other person’s insights/achievements
    3. Congratulate each other when you make progress, even if it’s just a small step. Your hard work will pay off when scheduled discussions eventually give way to ongoing, friendly communication.

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