Conflict Resolution

You may have come across the terms conflict resolution, mediation and restorative intervention in the workplace. What they mean is a way of dealing with any conflict in a better way and reaching a resolution which all parties are happy with.

There are many responses to conflict including:

  • Talking about it
  • Physical violence
  • Ignoring the problem
  • Forcing a resolution
  • Arguing
  • Insults.

The problem with most of these responses is that the outcome generally isn't one that both parties will be happy with.

Conflict resolution and restorative intervention are a series of steps which can be used in a relationship to enable both partners to find a mutually acceptable solution to conflict and to restore good terms. It does not focus on blame but looks for agreement that something has gone wrong and develops a way forward. It usually involves a mediator who is able to see both sides, ask questions and intervene if necessary.

It can be used in different circumstances, but is increasingly commonly used to try to avoid divorce or try to come to an agreement regarding the settlement of shared affairs after divorce. These are the steps that a mediator would go through with you:

  • Identify positions (what are each of you really saying)
  • Learn more about the true needs and desires of each partner
  • Ask clarifying questions for more information
  • Brainstorm possible solutions
  • Discuss how each solution would affect each of you and figure out possible compromises
  • Agree upon a solution
  • Implement solutions
  • Re-evaluate solutions, if necessary


Organisations such as Relate use these techniques and allow you to develop a new way of dealing with issues in your relationship. You can also get help from a specialist mediator or counsellor in your area. Once you get used to using this process you can generally manage it yourself without using an intermediary.