Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Resolving conflicts through negotiation

negociationResolving conflicts through negotiation.

Resolving Conflict is a part of life. Negotiation is how conflicts are resolved. Hopefully, they can be resolved peacefully and to the satisfaction of both parties to the conflict. It is also part of any leaders skill set. Therefore, some of these blog postings will deal with ways a leader can help resolve conflicts.

I hope to provide useful information on:

  • Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  • Understand how the acronym E.A.R. can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  • Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  • Know negotiating skills to resolve conflicts for the benefit of all parties to the conflict.

All conflict resolution involves negotiation. Therefore as a starting point, let’s look at the definition and characteristics of negotiation.

What is Negotiation

Negotiation is a voluntary, non-binding bargaining process, in which the parties to a dispute attempt resolution among themselves.  Often, agents of the disputing parties (their lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and so forth), who are in actual communication with each other, are the negotiators.  The actual disputing persons sometimes do not meet or participate in direct discussions until most, or all, of the dispute has been resolved.

Characteristics of Negotiation

The chief characteristics of negotiation are:

  • Mutual Consent. Negotiation is voluntary.  The parties cannot be compelled to negotiate or even negotiate in good faith.  Negotiations cease when one party declines to continue.
  • Successful Result is Enforceable. A negotiated settlement, usually memorialized in a written agreement, is as valid and enforceable as any common law contract.
  • The parties and/or their agents are in personal contact with each other.  A third party neutral is involved in negotiations.
  • No statute or case law governs the process of negotiation.  Some prefer to negotiate in person.  Others use letters, e-mail, or telephone calls.  Still others negotiate through agents or intermediaries.
  • Negotiation is a process, taking place over time, as opposed to a single meeting or a brief exchange of correspondence.
  • Negotiators share facts and arguments often in a disorganized manner.  Negotiators posture and obfuscate, misstate the law, rail and threat and bluff, implore and cajole, and mix fact with fiction, exaggeration, and lies, during a series of back-and-forth communications.
  • Negotiations are usually conducted in private.  Publicity is anathema to a frank exchange of opinions, offers, and demands negotiations.

For an experienced Mediator to help negotiate a resolution to your dispute contact Ken Strongman. Here.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

A handy tool for resolving conflicts.

conflict tool
Tool for resolving conflicts

A very handy tool for approaching any conflict situation that needs to be resolved is E.A.R. 

Ask the people involved to:

Express – What you want and what are you doing to get it.

Address – Why it is working or not working.

Resolve – What ways there are to solve the situation.

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Devil's Advocate
Devil’s Advocate

Mediators Playing the Devil ’s Advocate

Devil’s Advocate is one of the roles of a mediator. A good mediator such as myself, does not forfeit his personal opinions simply because he serves as a neutral facilitator. These opinions and preconceptions can help inform certain beliefs. However, a strong mediator knows how to view a case from multiple angles. This is an important quality to possess as it helps provide a counter point to a party or attorney’s one-sided approach.

A Strong Mediator

A strong mediator gives consideration to the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. When in a private caucus with one side, the mediator may mention a potential weakness in this side’s argument. He may even ask the party what his or her argument would be if he or she was on the other side. He or she may get the attorney to contemplate the same scenario and ask for facts and legal theories that would support the other side.
By recognizing the strengths of the other side and the weaknesses of their own side, parties can start to contemplate the potential of what would happen if they lose. This can often inspire them to fully participate in negotiations so that they can avoid the possibility of losing the case or facing other adverse effects.

Sounding Board

Mediator is a “sounding board” for your arguments, and for offers/counter offers. I can deal with the hypotheticals and be a “coach”, to deliver bad news and explain opponents’ responses to offers. I, as a strong mediator give you an opportunity to explain the case to a neutral person help you and your attorney evaluate your case. Finally, a good mediator helps identify components of solutions from your stand point and delivers bad news to both sides.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.

listening
Listening to resolve conflicts

The better the information you have, the greater your chances of finding a workable solution.  Listen carefully to what others are saying, not judging until you hear everyone’s story.  Be aware of tone of voice, body language, and other clues.  Understand what each person is expressing – what he wants and what he is willing to do to get there.  Then clarify that the solution lies with all parties. 

Listen carefully to what others are saying without judgment until you have everyone’s side of the story.  Clarify what you have heard and then reframe it back to each party.  Remember the solution lays with both parties not you.

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

I’m privileged to be an adult staff member for a National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course.  It is a very satisfying experience and a lot of fun.  One key topic on the course is how to resolve conflicts as a leader.  This blog is adapted from this course.

Leading the youth through this necessary topic allows me to bring my professional expertise in settling disputes to the more practical issues of conflict resolution.   The course can be applied to any situation as a young person or adult.

The learning objectives of the conflict resolution course are:

  1. Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  2. Understand how the acronym E.A.R.  can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  3. Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  4. Know when, as a leader, the resolution of a conflict is beyond your expertise and how to seek help in resolving the conflict.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

don't be afraid
Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

The first step to resolve any conflict is to defuse anger.  But do not be afraid of anger.  An angry person can’t lie because anger is a primitive emotional response.  To lie, you must control your emotions and turn on your intellect.  So when someone is angry, whatever they are telling you contains some truth.  Beware that this does not stop good actors.  A good actor merely appears to be angry as they try to control the situation

There are several reasons for anger:

To vent. An angry person needs to let off steam and release the anger that may have been brewing for a long time.  To resolve the conflict you need to allow this to happen, but try to control it by reframing their issues. 

To get the listener’s attention. An angry person wants to know that you are paying attention.  Use good listening skills to demonstrate that you are paying attention.

To be heard. An angry person wants someone to listen to their point of view.  To resolve the conflict, you need to acknowledge the feelings you hear so that the speaker knows you appreciate how angry they are.

To be understood. An angry person wants someone to appreciate how they feel.  Therefore try to empathize with their experience so that they feel you understand the situation, and acknowledge their ‘right’ to feel the way they do.  This does not mean that you should agree with their justification.  You do want to remain neutral in the conflict and not pick sides.

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Creative thoughts on Conflict Resolution.

Creative Thoughts
Creative thoughts on Conflict Resolution

Here are Creative thoughts on conflict resolution.

As is all leadership, conflict happens.  It needs to be resolved but if not resolved in the right way, the conflict will create other problems.

Accept the fact that conflict is going to happen. Decide to take positive steps to manage it. When it occurs, discuss the conflict openly with the group.

Deal with one issue at a time. There may be more than one issue involved in the conflict at one time. Someone in the group needs to provide leadership to identify the issues involved. Then only one issue at a time can be addressed so the problem is manageable.

If there is another problem from the past blocking current communication, list it as one of the issues in this conflict. It may have to be dealt with before the current conflict can be resolved.

Choose the right time for resolution. Individuals have to be willing to address the conflict. We are likely to resist if we feel we are being forced into negotiations.

Avoid reacting to unintentional remarks. Words like “always” and “never” may be said in the heat of battle and do not necessarily convey what the speaker means. Anger will increase the conflict rather than bring it closer to resolution.

Be sure to question resolutions that come too soon or too easily. People need time to think about all possible solutions and the impact of each. Quick answers may disguise the real problem. All parties need to feel some satisfaction with the resolution if they are to accept it. Conflict resolutions should not be rushed.

Discourage name calling and threatening behavior. Don’t corner the opponent. All parties need to preserve their dignity and self-respect. Threats usually increase the conflict and payback can occur some time in the future when we least expect it.

Remember agreeing to disagree is an option. Respect for one another and the value of relationships are two good reasons to disagree, but to choose not to allow the disagreement to interfere with the group.

Remember handled correctly, humor can be powerful.  But proceed very carefully. 

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

What is Conflict Resolution Leadership?

resolution leadership
Conflict resolution leadership

Conflict Resolution Leadership

In any leadership training, the new leader must be trained to resolve conflicts. They must do all of the following.

Acknowledge that a difficult situation exists. Honesty and clear communication play an important role in the resolution process. Acquaint yourself with what’s happening and be open about the problem.

Let individuals express their feelings. Some feelings of anger and/or hurt usually accompany conflict situations. Before any kind of problem-solving can take place, these emotions should be expressed and acknowledged.

Define the problem. What is the stated problem? What is the negative impact on the work or relationships? Are differing personality styles parts of the problem?  Meet with team members separately at first and question them about the situation.

Determine underlying need. The goal of conflict resolution is not to decide which person is right or wrong; the goal is to reach a solution that everyone can live with.  Looking first for needs, rather than solutions, is a powerful tool for generating good options. To discover needs, you must try to find out why people want the solutions they initially proposed. Once you understand the advantages their solutions have for them, you have discovered their needs.

Find common areas of agreement, no matter how small:

·     Agree on the problem

·     Agree on the procedure to follow

·     Agree on worst fears

·     Agree on some small change to give an experience of success

Find solutions to satisfy needs.   

·     Problem-solve by generating multiple alternatives

·     Determine which actions will be taken

·     Make sure involved parties buy into actions. (Total silence may be a sign of passive resistance.) Be sure you get real agreement from everyone.

Determine follow-up you will take to monitor actions.

How will you determine if the agreement is being followed?  What are the benchmarks?  

Determine what you’ll do if the conflict goes unresolved. If the conflict is causing a disruption and it remains unresolved, you may need to explore other avenues.  Let the participants know that’s an option.

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Communication skills are important in resolving conflicts

Communication
Communication Skills help resolve conflicts

 

“Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”

— Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States

 

Good communication is the most important tool for resolving conflicts.  Listening is the key to good communication.  Use your ears more than your mouth.  Encourage others to talk but offer no judgments.   Make sure you hear the message.  Ask clarifying questions and reframe their statements.  Put their message in your own words.

**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 (www.kpstrongman.com) 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.