Critical Questions to answer in resolving conflicts.

Philmont Scout Ranch Critical Questions
Critical Questions

Here are the most critical questions to ask each participant in any conflict situation:

  1. “What do you want?”
  2. “What are you doing to get it?”
  3. “Is it working?”
  4. “Do you want to figure out another way?”

The first question one focuses people’s attention on what their real needs are and helps you see more clearly other people’s points of view. The subsequent questions put responsibility on other people to be a party in examining where they are and then in finding pathways to reach where they want to be.

The next two questions are vital.  They are questions that empower people.  Make sure you give people the time and encouragement to figure out the answers.  They need to understand themselves.  Too often we skip these questions. We ask, “What do you want?” and then jump immediately to a variation of question four, telling someone what we think they should do.

Question four gives them a way to invite you to help them explore other approaches to a problem. It encourages a cooperative effort—working together to help everyone get what they want.

Remember, you can’t control another person, but you can persuade. You can join forces with them in a mutual search for a solution.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 


Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.