You cannot treat every dispute the same way. The causes of the disputes vary as do the conflicting parties’ temperaments. And in most cases, people who get into and out of disputes with the same people are unable to make the right decision because of different and confusion conflict resolution processes. There’s also the fact that some strategies work better than others and again, the dispute resolution strategy taken will depend on the cause of the dispute.
To make sure that you resolve the issues you are dealing amicably, here are the main types of dispute resolution processes:
This strategy features the use of a neutral third party to help the disputing parties come to a consensus on their own. A professional mediator will not tell the disputants what to do but, he or she works with two sides to explore the main interest or interests that cause conflict.
To reach the root of the cause of the conflict, the parties have to face their emotions, and the mediator allows them to vent out their issues and also explore the grievances. For this to happen, the mediator works with the parties separately or together, to help them come up with a sustainable, non-binding, and most importantly, a voluntary resolution. You could think of this process as an ADR mediation process.
Unlike mediation, arbitration involves a neutral third party serving as a judge and also the party responsible for resolving the dispute. How arbitration works is that the arbitrator will listen to the two warring sides, and after the sides present their relevant evidence, the judge delivers a binding decision. The disputing factions can negotiate at any time during the arbitration process, and they could use lawyers, but the final decision lies with the arbitrator. The decision reached by the mediator is confidential, and neither party can appeal it. It costs more than mediation.
This is the most common process in dispute resolutions where civil litigation is filed, and the defendant faces off against the plaintiff in the presence of a judge and jury or a judge. The judge and/or the jury weighs the evidence presented in the court and then make a ruling. The information and the outcome of the court hearing and the trial will be entered into public record. For litigation, a lawyer is necessary for both sides. Note that litigation is more expensive than arbitration and mediation.
Effective conflict resolution strategies
Don’t allow the disputants to get under your skin
As an arbitrator or a mediator, you will have to make several moves that involve questioning the disputing parties. As a shadow negotiator, some of the rational issues discussed may hurt your feelings and cause an angry outburst. But, you should not give in even if they question your competence, criticize or demean you. Allowing them to get under your skin means that you allow them to take power away from you. To prevent that from happening, call for a break when things get heated, correct, or divert the move.
Use value-creating strategies
To do this, you should consider the interests and the values of each party separately, engage in a relationship-building dialogue, confront the differences in values, and appeal to the overarching values.
Make time your best weapon
The disputants will easily resolve their issues if they don’t have to see each other or if some time elapses before the issue, say a divorce, is finalized. So, don’t rush the process.