Conflict Resolution
Presentation by:
Bill Turner
(Turner Training Services)
According to psychologists
‘Conflict’ is unavoidable.
To be human is to experience
Where can conflict occur?
 Where one or more strong personalities exist.
 Where work is routine and monotonous.
 In areas of high stress.
 In group settings.
 Where personalities are mismatched.
Conflict resolution
Requires an understanding of:
• The communication process
• The physiological effects of conflict
• The key elements of conflict
Is a process in which we interact and transfer
information and meaning to each other.
Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally.
The communication process is simple (but
complex) and has three key elements – send,
receive and interpret messages.
How we communicate
Research by Dr Albert Mehrabin (UCLA)
indicates that humans communicate in the
following manner:
 7% Actual words
 38% Voice and vocal nuance
 55% Body language
The basic rules of
 The way the message is delivered always affects the
way the message is received.
 The real communication is the message received
not the message intended.
 The way we begin our message often determines
the outcome.
 Communication is a two way street – we have to
give as well as gather.
 Humans communicate both verbally and nonverbally.
Potential barriers to
 Language
 Culture
 Gender
 Noise
 Anger
 Fear
 Conflict
Conflict and the ‘body-alarm’
 During emotional or conflict incidents the
human body can undergo a significant
number of biological changes (over 150).
 High stress/fear/anger can provoke the body
alarm response (often called the
flight/fight/freeze response).
 The body alarm response is a normal reaction
to an abnormal situation!
The dynamics of the body
alarm response
 The nervous system triggers the BAR.
 This response is augmented by an ‘adrenal dump’
(the secretion of adrenaline and other hormones into
the bloodstream to reinforce and prolong the stress
 The circulatory system assists the response by
diverting blood from the skin surface, the
extremities and the digestive organs and pumping it
to the large muscle groups that enhance speed and
The dynamics of the body
alarm response (continued)
 The increase in muscle demand means that the heart
and lungs have to work harder – this results in
higher blood pressure, higher body temperature,
increased perspiration and respiration.
 Blood diversion affects the body’s ability to
perform fine/complex motor skills.
 Blood diversion can also cause digestive disruption
which can result in nausea/vomiting.
The dynamics of the body alarm
response (continued)
• Anxiety can overcome body functions
resulting in fainting and decreased sensitivity
to pain.
• Reduced blood flow to the brain can decrease
the ability to think and reason.
The communication
consequences of the body alarm
 Blood diversion can effect hearing, sight,
speech and breathing.
 Tightened (constricted) muscles can effect
hearing, sight, speech and breathing.
 Anxiety can effect sight, sound, hearing and
Controlling the body alarm
 Understand that it is a natural response
(designed to protect you).
 Control your rate and depth of breathing
 Scan with your eyes (to prevent tunnel
 Give yourself space.
Conflict dynamics and strategies
for resolution
 The key elements of conflict
1. Conflicts are invariably emotionally driven.
2. Humans are defensive and aggressive in conflict
3. Conflicts are invariably inflamed by a lack of
understanding of the issue or the problem.
4. Conflicts are often compounded by a refusal or an
inability to communicate.
1. Conflicts are invariably
emotionally driven
 You should therefore:
 Manage your attitude and behaviour (Remember the dynamics of the
Bataris Box).
 Manage your response to the person’s attitude and behaviour.
 Focus on the cause of the person’s behaviour and not their attitude.
 Not react to trigger words or phrases (Remember – the last words you
should ever say are the first words that come to your tongue!).
 Be open and receptive – do not prejudge (Remember to be alert to
‘First Impressions’).
2. Humans are defensive and
aggressive in conflict situations
 You should therefore:
Minimise your aggression.
Control your temper.
Keep your ego in check.
Use non-threatening body language.
Generate compliance through the use of good tactical
communication skills (Remember most people do not like being told
what to do).
3. Conflicts are invariably inflamed by a
lack of understanding of the issue of the
 You should therefore:
 Be an active listener (Remember to listen with both your eyes and your
 Use non-verbal body language (postures and gestures) to signal
that you are listening.
 Focus on what the subject is saying rather than on how they
are saying it.
 Let the other person finish speaking before responding.
 Actively seek to identify the issue or problem.
4. Conflicts are often compounded by a
refusal or inability to communicate
 You should therefore:
 Be willing to communicate.
 Know how to say what has to be said effectively
and appropriately.
 Know how to say it so that people remember.
 Use your communication skills (sending, receiving,
interpreting) to your advantage.
 Know when to speak and when not to speak.
The final word!
A woman has the last word in any argument
Anything a man says after that is the
beginning of a new argument!