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The 7 Principles of Conflict Resolution

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The 7 Principles of Conflict Resolution

How to Resolve Disputes, Defuse Difficult Situations and Reach Agreement

FT Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you don’t handle a dispute, you risk it getting worse; instead, use seven principles to resolve it.   

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Mediator Louisa Weinstein offers seven principles you can apply to confront and resolve any conflict. To deal with a conflict, she suggests, move beyond your feelings of anxiety. Don't let a conflict escalate; instead, try to diagnose the reasons behind it so you can help resolve it. How you use language can either accentuate a conflict or defuse it by using “deep or expansive listening.” Take a moment to consider people’s real meanings and to go beyond their immediate words so you can focus on the topics they’re avoiding. Much of Weinstein’s advice revolves around bypassing your initial defensive reflexes. Human resource practitioners and budding mediators, in particular, will find her advice useful.


Confronting Conflict

To deal effectively with conflict, you must become at ease with it and understand that you can manage it. However, if you seek to avoid or ignore conflict, you can create a dangerous situation. You, in effect, put a constraint on something that is already under high pressure.

Scientists suggest that seven “instincts” drive humanity: “seeking, anger, fear, panic, care, pleasure/lust and play.” Seeking drives you to investigate your surroundings to discover what you lack. If you want to create effective and innovative solutions in a situation of conflict, you need to keep this instinct alive. Be aware that extreme anxiety can disable the seeking instinct. To deal with a conflict, you need to move beyond feelings of anxiety. Play can help. Play lets you explore innovative ideas without having to select only one solution. You can explore different options without the pressure of having to get it absolutely right.

Conflict amounts to an argument or disagreement between groups, individuals or corporate or governmental entities. The roots of a particular conflict can stem from insignificant factors. If participants in a conflict don’t ...

About the Author

Experienced mediator and trainer Louisa Weinstein’s background is in corporate and private equity law, public sector consultancy and social enterprise.

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