Conflict Resolution: 3 Traffic Lights to Assertiveness

Conflict. It’s a word that makes many people feel like running out the door. To these individuals, it’s synonymous with anger, resentment, raised voices, hostility. But is that what conflict is all about? No, it isn’t. Conflict itself is neither good nor bad.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is how people communicate when they disagree with someone. And, fortunately, there’s a very easy formula to follow to make sure that we get our point across without antagonizing the person we disagree with.

The 3 Traffic Lights to Assertiveness
We get into trouble because we don’t follow the right order. When driving, the traffic lights follow a set order – green, amber and then red. However, when dealing with others, instead of proceeding Green Light, Amber Light, Red Light, we usually go straight to RED! And that’s where we get into problems.

Step #1
Give them the Green Light. What we do with this step is drive their way. Show them that you understand their viewpoint. “Let me see if I understand you correctly. What you’re saying is ….”

Step #2
The Amber Light signifies that a change is coming. And that’s exactly what you do at this step. After showing that you understand the other person’s concerns, you signify that a change is coming. You do this by saying, “at the same time” or “however.” Do NOT use the word “but.” BUT is a traffic accident. It stops all information traveling in any direction. Instead, always use “at the same time” or “however.”

Step #3
Red Light – If you head straight for red, it will make your opponent see red. However, if you’ve prepared the person for your objection, it usually won’t upset them. At the red light, after saying “however” or “at the same time,” you now present your side of story and then your compromise solution

These are the three traffic lights to assertiveness. However, like driving, effectively driving the road to conflict resolution takes practice. So share this idea with a friend and then role play a conflict and see how well you follow the three steps. The more you do it the more results you’ll see. And your career and private life will show the results,

Jean V. Dickson is a Canadian-based entrepreneur who puts creativity’s ZING into training and corporate communications. For more information on creativity and innovation, visit and To jazz up your corporate PowerPoint presentations, visit The PowerPoint Joint at

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Conflict Resolution: 3 Traffic Lights to Assertiveness

Recommend Conflict Resolution Activity To A Friend.

Conflict resolution activity is any step taken toward resolving a disagreement. You see, contrary to what many individuals believe, conflict is not all bad. There is actually good conflict. But, you need to know what conflict is before you can really assess a situation and determine of it is conflict. If it is, the you now know in order to get through this you will need some sort of conflict resolution activity.

Conflict is really just 2 parties in opposition, or which differ. If you are able to analyze a situation, determine there is or will be conflict, then use some of the following techniques, you will get through this and move on. If you try to resist this, or dig your heels in, it will not go away. If you ignore this, it will not go away. The best way to handle conflict is to just go and face it.

You must maintain self-control during conflict. If it becomes emotional, you have already lost. Also, when in the conflict itself, try to see what you can learn from it. There is always something to learn from each and every situation you run into during the day. It may not be obvious at the time, but each of the conflicting parties will be teaching the other something valuable.

You will need to become an active listener. This means you nee to repeat to the other person that you did in fact hear what their problem is. If you are not sure, then ask questions. Probably half of the time conflict arises it is the result of a misunderstanding. If you can ask questions, it will help you better understand the situation.

You may need to give some to get something. I have done this before where I had to modify a project I was doing, giving up certain portions, so I could get more implemented. I did this by going to each person and asking their opinions and what they liked or did not like. I the end, we had a project everyone agreed upon and liked.

The first part of this process really is understanding when a conflict situation is present. Then, using some of the conflict resolution activity techniques above can help you get through, normally with each party getting something accomplished.

For more information on conflict resolution, visit The Art Of Team Building

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Group Communication and Conflict Resolution

As DeChurch and Marks state, “the manner in which groups handle emergent conflict may play a critical role in whether or not the conflict situation has a positive or negative impact on group outcomes”. The way a group communicates during conflict can mitigate conflict before it occurs or once it has occurred.

DeChurch and Marks identify positive and negative communication forces which affect the outcome of the conflict. The positive forces include; accommodating, compromising and collaborating. The negative forces include; avoiding and competing. Avoidance has the greatest negative influence on outcomes, followed by competing. If individuals avoid the debate and discussion which accompany conflict the team never can generate the best ideas to solve the issues, decreasing possible improvements. Competing in order to influence others can improve outcomes but damage relationships. The best possible outcome would be a combination of competition and collaboration, resulting in the sharing of creative ideas while maintaining and even enhancing the relationships of the team, which in turn can improve outcomes even further.

Knowing this, all team members must avoid avoidance and be willing to voice opinions, realizing that healthy debate will improve outcomes. Secondly, members should show willingness to compromise and collaborate in order to maintain the overall wellness of the team.

This of course is easier said than done. An effective communication method I have found useful to decrease avoidance and improve collaboration is to conduct a facilitative brainstorming session. Ground rules need to be set in advance in order to find the best method to ensure all members generate and defend ideas. Agreement should also be reached in advance on the process for selecting and implementing the best ideas. This method increases participation while enhancing collaboration.

James Gehrke is the President of Magnify Leadership and Development.

After various promotions in Sales, Sales Operations, Training & Development, and Sales Management and Training, he headed Pfizer’s Learning & Development for all of Europe, Canada, Africa, & the Middle East where he was instrumental in the development of a global management curriculum and other training initiatives to enhance organizational effectiveness for over 30,000 employees. He has worked on many high levels, cross functional teams addressing issues such as Field Force Effectiveness, Change Leadership, Leader Behavior Development, Executive Coaching and many others.

Since starting his own training company, James has developed and trained both public and private leadership, coaching, targeting and territory management sessions for hundreds of participants in various industries. James is bilingual and can teach in both English and Spanish

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Ethical Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are inevitable, but the more we know about human nature, the more positive the outcome of a conflict might be for both parties. We know that different people have different priorities and different ways of dealing with situations that may occur, but in general, human beings have certain characteristics that are very similar – even across gender, racial, and socio-economic lines.

· People love to be agreed with.
· People hate to be disagreed with.
· People like other people who agree with them.
· People dislike other people who disagree with them.
· People who are good at resolving conflicts look for some point of agreement and use good people skills to get others to see a different point of view.

So if we know that when we disagree with people, we are likely to raise resentment, it might be a good idea to strengthen our soft-skills – our people skills – when dealing with conflicts or potential conflicts. If we find ourselves in a tense situation, and we raise our voice, the other party is likely to respond in kind. This will usually escalate the situation quickly. Instead, below are SEVEN tips for avoiding and ultimately resolving conflicts.

1. Be proactive instead of reactive. Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true. –Lester R. Bittel

2. Be slow to anger—especially over petty issues. Anger is always more harmful than the insult that caused it. –Chinese Proverb

3. Instead of telling people they are wrong, point out mistakes indirectly. A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. –Samuel Butler

4. Look for some type of common ground as soon as possible. A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. -Ludwig Erhard

5. If you find that you are in the wrong, admit it. It’s easier to eat crow while it is still warm. –Dan Heist

6. Admit one of your own poor decisions before pointing out a similar error by others. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying… that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. -Alexander Pope, from Miscellanies by Jonathan Swift

7. Mend fences whenever possible. Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury. -E.H. Chapin

Doug Staneart is President of DM Staneart and Associates,, leadership and team-building training. He can be reached by e-mail at or toll-free at 1-800-872-7830 x-100.

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Quick Conflict Resolution Tricks: What Not To Do During A Quarrel

1. Avoid getting in a power struggle. There is a noteworthy relationship between power and authority. Several times, as power increases, influence decreases and vice versa. Famous sociologist Erik Erikson noted that children turn out to be emotionally bothered when they hold power they cannot responsibly control. Clearly defined customs and rules are required to govern life, or people become self-destructive.

A creative rejoinder you can bring to conflict is an ability to delegate power, allowing others to take responsibility of their feelings and the event in question. Your authority amplifies when you empower others as a substitute of getting into power struggles. If you can find a way to minimize power struggles, you’ll be more successful during conflict.

2. Never detach from the conflict. At first, this might appear contradictory, but it is actually a way to observe conflict and keep it under check. It is vital that you have a zealous concern for both the people and the crisis. Business will not run without people, and it cannot operate efficiently until substantive conflict is handle. Concern is one drive that drives us to find the opportunity in conflict.

3. Never let conflict launch your agenda. Time management specialists recommend it is imperative to do the important tasks, not the urgent. This standard is often indistinct under the pressure of conflict, and many chief business matters are ignored in an effort to deal with the conflict.

Outlook is the key. In conflict, the individual must understand both the goals and course in which to travel. Decision and responses to conflict should equal this overall route. But occasionally urgent needs obstruct with daily schedules. A time study should disclose that you have spent time managing priorities and not managing conflict unceasingly.

To help you handle the urgent, don’t waste all your time and energy on one concern. Furthermore, watch time traps. Are there tasks that always seem to devour your time before you’re aware it’s vanished? Next, recognize urgent issues, mainly negative or conflict issues. If you notice one consistent time offender, control that offender.

The strength of the conflict establish which strategies will be the most valuable. It is simple to be pressed to worst-case scenarios when confronted with a difficult conflict. Those locked into higher levels of conflict lose their capacity to quantify the intensity of the problem.

Observe the following:

1. People are hardly ever as kind as they distinguish themselves to be.

2. People are hardly ever as malevolent as their opponents identify them to be.

3. Individuals seldom squander as much time thinking about the issues as believed.

4. The inspiration of others are infrequently as planned or thought out as presented. Most facet of conflict spin off other events and are not the product of cold-hearted scheming.

5. Each conflict has a narration that extends beyond the current. The people and their preceding patterns of relating spoil the present perception.


Joseph Plazo is a renowned success coach. He teaches NLP techniques and negotiation skills while helping people find great jobs in the Philippines.

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Conflict Resolution

Ask yourself ‘so what?’ Accurately assess what is at stake.

Look at your intention. Be honest,state your intentions, and make sincere invitations.

Face your fears. Ask yourself ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ Dare to say it. E.g. I’m really angry. Although the sheer thought, of conflict may be overwhelming, it is always better to address any internal issues that you have with yourself or altercations that you have with others than to sweep it aside in avoidance. At the time of the conflict, it may be mentally draining. However, you must remember that it will only benefit you and those affected in the future.

Stay centered. Remember the basics of pleasure, especially breathing. Be aware of where you end and everything else begins.

Give up being right. Favor being present rather than winning. Express yourself accurately rather than trying to control the outcome.

Be open to feedback. Know that each individual possesses an opinion of his or her own. In addition, when you decide to be attentive to what others are saying, listen and do not interrupt. There will be time for you to talk after the person has finished their bit.

Go slowly. Set the tempo for conversations that is slow enough to be comfortable.

Express your truth. Preferences may differ. Allow yourself to have an opinion. Report how you feel. Don’t be defensive or hostile. Communicate congruently without blaming.

Describe what is annoying you. Do not be judgmental.

Suggest solutions. It does not necessarily mean that you are in agreement. You can agree to disagree.

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Relationships: Conflict Resolution Without Words

In the last few decades, partners have spent countless hours trying to “work out problems.” Yet over and over again they often come up against a major roadblock: they just don’t see things the same way. No matter how long they talk and how hard they try, neither ends up feeling really heard and understood.

While there are some couples that just naturally see things the same way, most people have a really hard time seeing things through the other person’s eyes. What often happens when they “communicate” is that each person tries to get the other person to see things his or her way. Instead of solving the problem, each is trying to have control over how the other person sees things. This often leads to more conflict and frustration.

While I am not suggesting that couples stop communicating over problems and issues, I am offering an additional way of resolving conflict: taking loving action in your own behalf.

This form of conflict resolution is about action rather than talk. Following are some of the actions you can take that may make a world of difference in your relationship.


1. Choose to be compassionate toward yourself and your partner rather than choosing to judge yourself or your partner.

Judging yourself and your partner will always lead to more conflict. Choosing to compassionately care about yourself and your partner can totally change the energy between you, even without words. If you believe that you or your partner are bad or wrong for your feelings, behavior, or point of view, then you will not be able to let go of judgment. You will move toward compassion when you understand and accept that each of you has very good reasons for your feelings, behavior, and point of view. Try compassionately accepting yourself and your partner and see what happens!

2. Choose to practice self-discipline in terms of saying nothing rather than behaving in an inflammatory way toward your partner.

Practice zipping up your mouth! Practice letting go of having to be right! Practice walking away from a conflicted or heated situation, rather than jumping into the fray in the hopes of winning. If you look back, you will see that no one wins when both people are trying to control with anger, blame, explanations, debating, defending, lectures, or compliance. However, if you choose to walk away, walk away with love and compassion – intent on taking loving care of yourself rather than punishing your partner. Walking away in anger is just another way to control.

3. Choose to accept that you have no control over your partner’s feelings and behavior, but that you have total control over your own actions.

It is much easier to let go of trying to control your partner when you move into acceptance regarding who your partner is. Trying to change your partner is a total waste of energy. Changing yourself moves you into personal power.

4. Choose to take loving care of yourself in the face of the other person’s choices.

You will find yourself wanting to talk about problems when you see yourself as a victim of your partner’s choices. However, when you accept your partner for who he or she is and accept your lack of control over your partner, you can then see your way clear toward taking loving action in your own behalf. Asking the question, “What is the loving action toward myself right now?” will lead to ideas of how to take loving care of your self. Asking, “If I were an enlightened being, how would I be acting right now?” will open the door to creative ways of taking loving care of yourself.

Loving actions are actions that support your own highest good without harming your partner. For example, if you are tired of often being frustrated and rushed because your partner is generally late leaving for an event, you might decide to take your own car each time your partner is not ready on time. While your partner might not like your choice, your action is not harmful to him or her. It is an action that stops the power struggle and takes care of your self.

Letting go of trying to change your partner and taking loving action for your self are the keys to conflict resolution without words.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?” and “Healing Your Aloneness.” She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: or email her at Phone sessions available.

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Teach Your Children How To Resolve Conflict Without Using Anger Or …

Teaching kids to deal with conflict effectively and peacefully is perhaps the biggest challenge facing adults today. Children’s disagreements both at home and at school can be noisy, physical and psychologically hurtful. The approach to conflict resolution learned and practised in childhood often stays for life.

Conflict is part of daily living. Effective people resolve conflict in ways that protect relationships, honour feelings and lead to a resolution. They neither avoid conflict nor do they use power to dominate others or win conflict.

It is useful for parents to provide a process for children to resolve individual differences peacefully and effectively. When two children have a disagreement that is upsetting to one or either then they may need adult assistance to resolve the conflict. One process that is both easy to learn and highly effective is the Face-Up conflict resolution process that is a variation on some common processes in use.

In the Face-up process children face each other and maintain eye contact. This helps for greater openness and understanding. It generally requires an adult to be present as a third party so parents may need to stick around to make sure it works effectively.

The steps involved in the Face-up process:

1. Safety first: To ensure safety and integrity it is important that both children are calm. Give them time and some help to regain control if they are angry or upset.

2. Feelings second: Using I-messages children tell each other how they feel about the situation. “I feel awful when you don’t share your toys. I really feel like losing it because it is not fair.” Focus on the feelings and don’t let it get into recriminations or accusations.

3. Repeat third: Sometimes this process is enough to get a resolution or at least an apology. Repeat this procedure if necessary so both children feel they have been heard.

4. Resolve fourth: State the problem as you see it or as children identify it. Sometimes children just want to state their case and they will make their own suggestion about resolving it. “You can play with my old toys but I don’t want you playing with my new toys for a while. They’re special.” “Okay.”

5. Make-up fifth: An apology or an agreement is often enough however sometimes damage may need to be repaired or a follow-up talk from a parent about better behaviour may be appropriate.

Teaching children some simple rules for resolving conflict and a process such as the one above may well be one of the best investments in time and energy that a parent will make.

Michael Grose is Australia’s leading parenting educator. He is the author of six books and gives over 100 presentations a year and appears regularly on television, radio and in print.

For further ideas to help you raise happy children and resilient teenagers visit While you are there subscribe to Happy Kids newsletter and receive a free report Seven ways to beat sibling rivalry.

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Stay Out of Court! Avoid Litigation And Resolve Disputes Quickly …

Worried about getting sued? It’s a legitimate fear, and you might think that your first line of defense is to own your assets in judgment-proof entities. That’s a valid and recommended strategy, but even though ownership is an important element of an effective asset protection plan, the best way to avoid paying judgments, along with substantial legal fees, is to avoid disputes and the often-resulting lawsuits. Attorney Andrew A. Caffey offers step-by-step advice in Stay Out of Court! The Small Business Guide to Preventing Disputes and Avoiding Lawsuit Hell (Entrepreneur Press, 2005).

Caffey begins with a look at what he calls the civil lawsuit, sue-for-profit industry and its complex financial impact. He writes: “Business and professionals take the brunt of punishment in this out-of-control civil litigation game. The fear of being sued has invaded every aspect of our people’s lives.”

Of course, getting sued doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up in court—in fact, chances are you won’t. According to Caffey: “Statistically, the vast majority of lawsuits never make it to trial. Estimates suggest that 90 to 95 percent of court filings are resolved, dismissed, abandoned, or settled without getting to a final judgment by the finder of fact (either the judge or a jury).” But you don’t have to go to court to spend a bundle on legal fees and other costs.

Caffey blames the proliferation of lawsuits on what he calls victimhood and a culture that has shifted away from personal responsibility and accountability. It follows that if someone is a victim, then someone else should be punished and made to pay.

The solution, Caffey believes, begins with improving relationships through communication and conflict resolution. He says the first step in resolving a conflict is to take a “we” not “you vs. me” attitude. The next step is to put the conflict in perspective by reframing it in context with your overall relationship with the other person. Next, Caffey recommends gentle confrontation, which uses non-threatening questioning and active listening to enable the parties to share their views of the conflict. Identify the other side’s needs and locate your overlapping shared needs. Then you are in a position to find mutually beneficial solutions, reach a settlement, and put that settlement in writing.

Caffey says you should never totally turn a dispute over to an attorney for handling: “The moment when one party to a dispute yields direct involvement and puts the dispute into the hands of the lawyers is the moment when the lawsuit happens.” Stay personally involved in the dispute to make sure your best interests are being considered and protected.

The sound advice on negotiating Caffey offers can be used for more than avoiding litigation—the techniques can be applied to all relationships and situations. For example, he recommends saying “yes” whenever possible, but if necessary, qualify the “yes” with an “if.” Caffey writes: “Using the big IF in negotiating is an important habit to develop. It allows you to say yes, but it is always qualified. It says, ‘I am willing to give on this point, but I want you to give something back to me for it.’”

Caffey offers excellent advice on how to use contracts to stay out of court and explains various dispute resolution processes, along with suggestions on providing warnings, notices, and cautions. He also explains how to apologize without accepting liability.

Using layman’s terms and sense of humor, Caffey has written a book that entertains while it delivers some of the most valuable asset protection and personal relationship advice you’ll ever receive.

Jacquelyn Lynn ( is a business writer based in Orlando, Florida, and the author of Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and the upcoming Small Business Almanac.

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