Conflict resolution: gray areas and gray matter

When parties find themselves in conflict and begin to think about resolution of that conflict, they may be just starting to view the dispute with more input from their reason than their emotions. When we are caught up in a conflict for some time,we can fall into demonizing the other side and we can become ever more convinced of the rightness of our own position.

In reality, it is hard for any of us to look at a situation where we need to get to conflict resolution with objectivity. That’s the whole point of mediation: the mediator has no stake in the outcome. The challenge for parties can be in recognizing that almost any dispute has some middle ground, at least one area where it’s not so clear that one party is completely right and another is completely wrong.

Parties to a dispute need to use their heads to find those areas and appreciate the reality in them: parties in conflict need use their gray matter to see those gray areas. Mediators can help.

Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Monday, December 20th, 2010

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