Teaching effective Conflict Resolution requires a lot of time and commitment. One of the ways to further engage your students in the conflict resolution process is to help them understand why conflict resolution is beneficial in the first place. If students can’t see the need to effectively resolve conflicts they will not engage in the process, and your efforts to develop these skills in your students will be unsuccessful. Following are four benefits to conflict resolution that we consider essential to understanding why conflict resolution is important.
Conflict resolution allows for constructive change to occur. If problems and disagreements are ignored rather than being handled constructively, things can only go one of two ways; either things stay the same, or they get worse. But, when people discuss their differences and work through them together, the stage is set for positive change to occur. Although it might be easier in the short term to leave things as they are, this struggle helps everyone involved in the conflict to work through the problem while developing stronger relationships.
Leads to Goal Achievement
One of the benefits that conflict resolution can bring to your students is that it can facilitate goal achievement. As they work through conflicts, they make progress toward accomplishing their goals. This is true in terms of their specific, individual academic and career goals, as well as the overall goal of becoming more unified with their conflict partner. Becoming better at conflict resolution helps develop other skills that are useful in other areas.
Another benefit of conflict resolution is that it enhances the commitment between conflict partners. Working through the conflict with others unites the conflict partners as they face problems and deal with challenges together. It gets those involved in the conflict thinking in terms of “us” versus “me”. This enhances the commitment of the parties to the conflict resolution process.
Generates New Insight
Conflict resolution can also lead to new insights. If everyone agreed all the time, there would be no reason to consider different perspectives or look for new ways to handle situations. But when people share their own unique opinions and ideas, they offer others an opportunity to look at situations in different ways. This enables everyone to consider other perspectives and practice being open minded and flexible. Often times, the best ideas are those that combine different points of view. These ideas often arise from conflict, as well as the creative problem-solving that conflict resolution requires to reach a resolution.
Sometimes your students may get discouraged with the conflict resolution process. They may refuse to see the need or desirability of resolving conflicts effectively. After all, it takes a lot of time and energy to resolve a conflict or find a solution. When this happens, remind them of these key benefits to effective conflict resolution.