Conflict Resolution Training: I’m Right, You’re Wrong, Case Closed

So many couples don’t discuss important aspects of marriage until AFTER they’re married. Will you have children? Will both of you work, or just one of you? Where will you live? Who will be in charge of which chores? How much personal time will you give each other? How do you both see finances in marriage?

Sitting around hoping for a mediation job to find you isn’t going to work -mediation jobs are highly competitive. Don’t just use generic resources – mediation jobs a scarce. Being a mediator is not your average job – so you much find out where to look. The internet is a great place for this (in a way that was not possible when I started out in my career in mediation). Knowing where to look is half the battle (Conflict Gateway offers a superb Conflict Training job board). You wont get anywhere by just taking information – share leads with others online. Join the message boards, make contacts and contribute to discussions – you never know who you might meet and impress. I got my big break in mediation by using an online forum – it led me to a summer job working as a mediator in Japan.

Meet together as soon as possible. “Those who know when to fight and when not to fight are victorious” – Sun Tzu. Many of us, when given the choice, would prefer to avoid a fight or conflict. So procrastination or recruiting others who are not a part of the conflict are common tactics. However, anytime you let conflict go unresolved it will almost always get worse. When people are left to speculate about another person’s motives or to attempt to determine the details of a conflict, they often arrive at erroneous conclusions. Putting off confrontation is rarely the appropriate choice.

Diane called Mike and asked him to come by to give his two-cents about how to do what she wanted to do – together they had remodeled over eight properties, she had a pretty good idea what she wanted to do but needed technical information. He came by the day after closing and he told her he would help her get it done. He would call their sons and get their help too.

Timing is important to successful communication. It is best to talk about important issues when both people are rested, sober, and ready for a serious talk. It is wise to avoid serious discussions when you are tired, or too angry.

Blemishes. What are the imperfections or baggage that you’d rather talk about now? No one is perfect, and we all have baggage. Do each of your parents want to see you a little, or quite a bit? This is good to discuss to prevent blemishes related to extended family.

As I said in the opening paragraph, “What’s in it for WE?” is a question we ask ourselves that reflects a way of thinking about other people and our relationships with them. Learn to ask “What’s in it for WE?” questions, and you will demonstrate “What’s in it for WE?” behaviors. When you demonstrate “What’s in it for WE?” behaviors, you will form mutually beneficial, collaborative relationships. These relationships will then form the foundation for your success.