Dispute Resolution

Top 10 Dispute Resolution Skills


Dispute resolution refers to various processes that can be applied to resolve disputes and conflicts. It focuses on ways to resolve disputes without approaching the court. It is mostly used to resolve issues in families, housing, neighborhood, business, personal injury, employment, consumer, housing, and environmental disputes. Mostly, people prefer dispute resolution to approaching the court because of its various benefits. One needs to hone skills to successfully resolve the dispute. This blog covers the top 10 dispute resolution skills one should have.

1. Active listening

The most important dispute resolution skill is to listen actively. One should listen actively to their counterpart’s concerns. One needs to resist the urge to interrupt while the other person is speaking. Focus on asking questions to understand the other party’s concerns. Repeat what you’ve heard to ensure you have understood their concerns correctly. When you understand the other person’s concerns correctly, start presenting your perspective on the issue.

2. Bring multiple issues to discuss

One of the main problems in negotiation is that parties remain fixated on a single issue. Parties tend to argue back and forth on the same issue. Adding multiple issues to the discussion during the dispute resolution process, you may find chances to make concessions or tradeoffs on your conflicting interests. Make sure to present several proposals covering both the party’s concerns. The other party’s reaction to your proposal will help in understanding their needs.

3. Brainstorm solutions jointly

One party’s gain is not equivalent to one party’s loss in dispute resolution. a true win-win solution will be when parties reach a solution satisfactory to both of them.

4. Recognise power plays

Parties in the dispute resolution process sometimes challenge one another’s power, experience, or skills with the aim of feeling superior or getting the upper hand. Don’t fall for such petty ploys. Instead, make it clear that you recognize the attempted manipulation for what it is, and try to return the conversation to the issue at hand.

5. Identify sacred issues

Parties in conflict sometimes categorically refuse to negotiate on sacred issues. Sacred issues are those issues that have a moral, religious, or personal dimension. Sometimes parties are willing to make concessions on sacred issues under specific circumstances. Before refusing to negotiate on an issue, think about settling the dispute.

6. Avoid threats

In a heated discussion, parties tend to give threats to each other. But threats typically escalate the conflict and make matters worse. When threatened, try ignoring the threat, as this can give the other party a chance to retreat from it. If that doesn’t work, other strategies for can include naming the threat and suggesting that you try to follow a more constructive path together.

7. Choice of mediator

When a dispute resolution effort is highly acrimonious or seems headed toward a lawsuit, it’s often smart to enlist a mediator or other unbiased third party to help manage the conflict. Mediators can encourage more rational decision-making. Similarly, experts in a particular field can provide data that shifts the discussion in a more productive direction. Be sure to choose those experts jointly. The mediator should not be chosen independently but by joint discussion between the parties.

8. Appeal to shared values

If you find yourself in a dispute over values, look for common ground by identifying broader values that you share with your counterpart. For instance, parties who are arguing about a political issue could emphasize their shared commitment to peaceful disagreement and freedom of expression.

9. Prioritise gains over losses

Parties tend to become overly competitive when they focus on what they might lose in the dispute resolution process. This leads to a waste of time for both parties. Thus, parties should jointly collaborate to reach a solution beneficial to both. For instance, if both parties need to make joint financial sacrifices to reach a solution, one might emphasize the opportunities to strengthen future relationships and overcome past mistakes.

10. Keep lines of communication open

Sometimes, dispute resolution can become so hostile that both sides need a break. Don’t let that break turn into a permanent break if an agreement would still benefit you both. Instead, keep in touch via email, at the very least, and periodically broach the possibility of resuming talks. You might be able to rebuild trust by negotiating relatively minor issues, such as where to meet.


Parties need to have the aforementioned dispute resolution skills to successfully resolve the matter. Sometimes dispute resolution can cause resentment from the parties. Make sure you are actively listening and communicating your issues properly to the other party. Make them understand your perspective as well. Thus, the blog has briefly mentioned the 10 dispute resolution skills one needs to keep in mind.

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by Sushree Swagatika

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