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4 Key Powerful Skills To Make Conflict Resolution Easier Anywhere, Anytime & Anyone

Louise Mathias is a Barrister (Lawyer), Mediator (Harvard), certified High-Performance and Emotional Intelligence Coach and a Dare To Lead™ consultant (Brené Brown). She is based in Sydney, Australia and works with clients worldwide.

 
Executive Contributor Louise Mathias

Louise Mathias focuses on the intersection of high performance, emotional intelligence, and Dare to Lead (Brene Brown) practices to enhance conflict resolution, leadership, teams, business performance, well-being, and results.


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In the third hour of mediation, the lawyer on the other side leaned over the table, conveyed an empathetic message to the client on the other side, and then switched to a strong negative character assassination, sharing his strong (assumptions) views.


This created an explosive reaction; the mood in the room became defensive and volatile, there was hurt, and trust had dissipated, making effective communication difficult.


It was a realisation that I knew deep down, but at that moment, it was not the time to share this simple fact:


There are beginners in conflict resolution in all professions and businesses; everyone starts with a few skills, often learned from childhood.


Many lawyers, leaders, and businesses have been doing the same things on repeat for years, often following the tactics of those more senior to them. They’ve observed people but have not taken responsibility for learning the essential 101 skills themselves, unaware of the negative impact on performance—process or results.


And the truth is… 85% of all of these people need help with the basics.


The conflict resolution 101 skills

So, what are the four key powerful 101 skills you can start to take so that you confidently tackle resolving conflict efficiently?


Business people having conflict

1. Get clarity

You may feel like you’re going through the motions, doing things on repeat, marching on like good soldiers because, in reality, things are pretty good when resolving conflict. You don’t want to change because everyone is doing it the same as you, and you’re afraid to do things differently, fearful of possible repercussions and what people may think. 


But deep down, you know there is another level, a different leadership quality, that resolves conflict even more skilfully.


But you’re uncertain about changing what may be working OK.


At some point things start to unravel when you don’t get clarity about:


  • Who you are at your best?

  • How do you want to lead and resolve conflict?

  • What do you want?

  • How do you want to perform and contribute?

  • What does success mean to you?

  • What challenges are holding you back from achieving your goals?


Then, your performance declines initially, and it’s subtle. Something inside you doesn’t feel right (frustrated, stressed, low self-worth, distracted, lacking confidence, or overwhelmed).


You’re thinking:


  • Things are good, and if I try something new, will everyone think I’m crazy? Am I just being stupid?

  • I’m already stretched thin; can I give anything more?

  • Why am I not more confident at this point in my life?


When you lack clarity about these questions, unravelling begins, and you start to protect what you’ve always done, your average success when resolving conflict rather than focusing on progress. 


Your motivation diminishes, energy wanes, and excitement fades. This impacts performance, communication, relationships, problem-solving ability, and enjoyment of the process.


2. Prepare yourself first

Prepare your mind and emotions that lead to your behaviour before heading into conflict resolution. This is essential because they can create a barrier to effective listening to your counterparts' underlying intentions and motivations. People need to be seen and heard, and what they say matters to douse flames and not inflame conflict, and this isn’t possible with unmanaged thinking, emotions, or limiting beliefs.


 Here are three steps to help you get ready:


  1. Recognise your narratives: Identify the stories you tell yourself about the conflict and your counterparts and challenge any negative or biased assumptions you don’t have evidence for. Look for evidence that doesn’t support your narrative.

  2. Identify your triggers: Understand what words or actions provoke strong emotional reactions in you. Plan strategies to be aware of these triggers so that when they arise, make your emotions work for you, not against you. That’s the intelligent part of emotional intelligence.

  3. Reframe your internal monologue: And your focus from ‘I don’t know enough, I’m not good enough, I’ll be walked over, I’ll thought incompetent, I’m uncertain how this will turn out, I have to know it all and prove myself’ to 'I’m going to do my best, I can ask for help, if I fail or make a mistake, it’s not fatal, and I know that’s the quickest way to learn, and I’ll stay curious, and any new knowledge and skill I learn… will help me improve next time’.


3. Build human connection… it builds trust

The reality of most conflict resolution scenarios is that trust has decreased or gone altogether. Why is trust so important? Here are 3 key reasons:


  • Trust encourages collaboration, strengthening relationships by building a foundation of mutual respect and reliability rather than viewing each other as the enemy.

  • Trust fosters open, honest, kind and direct communication because there is no fear of judgment or reprisal.

  • Trust creates an environment in which people are more willing to make concessions and find solutions that meet their needs and those of the other side.


Leaders initiate difficult conversations and resolve conflict regularly; they don’t take the easy road of avoidance or power over others to resolve conflict; they take the road less travelled as the high road, high-performing leaders they are…So why not start any difficult conversation or when resolving conflict by shaking hands and making eye contact with your counterpart? Show genuine interest in the other person by asking questions beginning with ‘How or what”. This initial 2–3-minute conversation is not focused on the conflict, clients, or 'business’; it's being present with another human to build a human connection which builds trust and brings down barriers, making resolution easier (You'll be amazed at how this can unsettle those who are determined to play hardball.)


4. Learn from someone who has done the work for you – making it faster to implement

If you or someone you know is struggling with the 3 Key Powerful Skills To Resolve Conflict Easier, remember you aren’t alone. But you probably want these skills as part of the bigger picture. This is to help you confidently take charge of your leadership, conflict resolution, and life without sacrificing what matters most to you and getting the growth and results you deserve for all of your efforts. Is that what you want? Are you committed to going for it? If that sounds like you or someone you know, I invite you to take the next step and register to learn more in my free Leadership Clarity Training: Register here.


 

Louise Mathias, The Confident Leader Blueprint

Louise Mathias is a Barrister (Lawyer), Mediator (Harvard), certified High-Performance and Emotional Intelligence Coach and a Dare To Lead™ consultant (Brené Brown). She is based in Sydney, Australia and works with clients worldwide.

 

She helps female professionals rise to the top 1% of leaders without sacrificing what matters most, ensuring sustained success without stress. Louise also specialises in helping lawyers and workplaces resolve conflicts with a human-centric and emotionally intelligent approach.

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