Harmony Unleashed Part 5: Resolution (The Remix)

Brad Sharp
June 27, 2023
photo of man and woman giving a hign-five

Photo by Kraken Images on Unsplash

Part 5

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Resolution (The Remix)

 Orchestrating Optimal Outcomes in Conflict

There are a variety of effective conflict resolution techniques that can aid us in approaching and managing conflicts in a more proactive, constructive, and empathic manner. They provide the means to navigate disagreements and transform potential sources of tension into opportunities for growth, learning, and improvement.

Successful techniques focus on communication, empathy, negotiation, and problem-solving. These techniques assist in resolving the immediate issue and help us learn more about our own and others’ perspectives. They encourage us to navigate through disagreements constructively and productively, contributing to better conflict management in the future. 

Building upon the foundations of common conflict resolution techniques, the integration of mindfulness becomes a powerful catalyst for transformative outcomes. As we embrace mindfulness, our attention shifts from solely addressing the immediate issue to cultivating a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. Many of the techniques we’ll discuss have a foundation in mindfulness or may be enhanced by its application.

Active Listening

Active listening is genuinely focusing on the speaker, understanding their message, reflecting on it, and responding thoughtfully. In conflict situations, it ensures that all parties feel heard and validated, which can deescalate tensions and create a conducive environment for resolution. Active listening also aids in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand and reducing the chances of miscommunication, a common trigger for conflicts.

By practicing active listening, we signal to the other person that we value their perspective and are genuinely interested in understanding their viewpoint, an essential element for constructive conflict resolution. Active listening encourages thoughtful responses, preventing reactive and potentially harmful statements that could escalate the conflict.

Non-verbal cues can significantly impact communication effectiveness, enhancing or undermining the message. An active listener who maintains eye contact, nods in agreement, and leans forward slightly communicates a sense of engagement and attentiveness to the speaker. This non-verbal behavior reassures the speaker that their message is being received and valued. In her book, Cues, Vanessa Van Edwards explains how body language can be used intentionally to deliver unconscious messages in social situations, which can be highly effective in supporting active listening. 

In contrast, negative body language, including crossed arms, lack of eye contact, or fidgeting, can imply disinterest, impatience, or judgment, even if the listener verbally communicates otherwise. This discrepancy between verbal and non-verbal messages can lead to unnecessary confusion and miscommunication.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. It involves trying to see the situation from the other person’s perspective and understand the reasons behind their viewpoint and emotions, even if we do not necessarily agree with them.

Empathetic responses validate the other person’s feelings, leading to mutual respect and trust. When we approach conflicts with empathy, we’re more likely to respond with understanding and kindness rather than defensiveness or aggression. This emotional understanding can reduce hostility, facilitate effective communication, and promote collaborative problem-solving.

Active listening and empathy allow us to genuinely understand the other person’s perspective and validate their feelings and concerns. They facilitate clear communication, foster understanding, and promote mutual respect and trust, all of which contribute to resolving conflicts constructively and improving overall relationship dynamics.

Mindful & Assertive Communication

Mindful and assertive communication involves being fully present in the conversation, listening attentively, and expressing thoughts, feelings, and needs clearly and directly, without disrespecting or undermining the other parties. It entails listening with full attention, free from distractions or preconceived notions. It’s about balancing honesty with respect. 

Being mindful in our communication involves carefully considering our words before speaking and noting our tone and body language. This can prevent inadvertently offensive or hurtful statements and avoid escalating conflicts. This approach includes using “I” statements to express personal feelings and needs and avoiding accusatory language and blame. By being intentional with responses and consciously choosing our words, we can express our viewpoints clearly and respectfully, promoting constructive dialogues.

Imagine you’re working with a colleague that isn’t doing their part on a project. Instead of accusing them of not doing their part, use mindful communication by saying, “I feel overwhelmed with the workload and could use some support with this task.” This approach helps to prevent defensiveness and encourages a more open, collaborative dialogue.

Mindful communication includes being aware of our emotions and managing them effectively. Recognizing and acknowledging our feelings can prevent emotional reactions from clouding judgment or hindering communication. This emotional intelligence can lead to more balanced, rational, and effective responses during conflicts.

Shared Interests & Common Goals

Shared interests and common goals often serve as the foundation for finding mutually beneficial solutions. Conflicts often arise from perceived differences and opposing viewpoints. However, beneath these differences, shared interests or common goals usually exist. Focusing on shared interests and common goals helps shift the perspective from “winning” the argument to collaboration and mutual gain, creating a more conducive environment for productive discussions and problem-solving.

Seeking shared interests and common goals cultivates a sense of connection, unity, and purpose. It can diffuse tension and remind the conflicting parties that they are on the same team, working toward the same end. This shift in perspective can reduce defensive attitudes and facilitate open, respectful dialogues. It can serve as a reference point or a guiding principle for determining the best course of action. By asking questions like, “Which option best aligns with our common goal?” or “How can we satisfy both our interests?” conflicting parties can explore solutions that benefit everyone involved.

Making amends

Making amends involves taking actions designed to rectify the situation or minimize damage. It provides an opportunity to heal, repair, and restore relationships that may have been damaged in connection with the conflict. Taking the initiative to make amends demonstrates a genuine acknowledgment of our role in the conflict and its impact on the other party. 


Apologies can be a powerful tool for conflict resolution. They signal remorse, responsibility, and the willingness to make things right. Apologies should specifically address our role in the conflict, express genuine regret, and indicate a commitment to avoiding similar actions in the future. A sincere apology not only aids in resolving the current conflict but also helps prevent similar conflicts in the future.


Forgiveness involves releasing feelings of resentment, anger, or vengeance toward a person who has caused harm. It doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting or excusing the offending behavior. Instead, it’s about liberating oneself from the emotional burden tied to the past conflict. This shift can reduce the emotional intensity of the conflict, making it easier to focus on resolving the present disagreement constructively.

Forgiveness can strengthen relationships, showing a commitment to moving past disagreements and working toward a better future. By practicing forgiveness, we encourage empathy and compassion toward ourselves and others. This emotional understanding can facilitate effective communication, collaborative problem-solving, and mutual respect.

Letting Go of the Past

Letting go of the past complements forgiveness. We often offer forgiveness for a specific action but continue to harbor resentment toward the other person for other actions that we’ve found hurtful. Letting go of the past goes deeper and involves completely releasing all past grievances, misconceptions, or expectations. This is an acknowledgment that the past happened precisely as it was meant to and an acceptance that everyone involved behaved only at the level they were capable of at the time. Letting go is an exercise in grace. This action can prevent past issues from clouding our judgment or hindering our communication, enabling us to focus on the current disagreement and its resolution.

Letting go of the past also develops an open and growth-oriented mindset. This mindset can promote innovative problem-solving, mutual understanding, and improved relationship dynamics. By releasing past experiences, we can approach the conflict with an open mind, ready to understand different perspectives and explore various solutions.


Brainstorming encourages a collaborative, creative, and inclusive approach to problem-solving. Each party is invited to offer their ideas for potential solutions. It’s important to remember that ALL ideas are valuable. The aim is to generate as many options as possible without assessing or critiquing them at this stage. Encouraging creativity and out-of-the-box thinking can often lead to unique and effective solutions.


Negotiation It’s a collaborative, structured process where those with differing needs, interests, or viewpoints find a middle ground, seeking an outcome that, ideally, all parties find acceptable. 

Effective negotiation involves applying the techniques we’ve discussed within a framework that progresses through stages of discussion and healing. It begins with each party openly expressing their perspective and their needs. Listening actively during this stage is essential, showing respect for the other person’s viewpoint and demonstrating a genuine desire to understand their position. An empathetic approach can defuse tensions and promote a more collaborative atmosphere. Empathy helps in recognizing the valid concerns of others, which is critical in building trust and facilitating mutual understanding.

Next, the parties engage in a constructive exchange of information. They communicate their underlying interests, needs, and concerns, providing clarity and understanding. Active listening and effective communication are crucial during this phase to ensure a comprehensive appreciation of each party’s perspective.

The bargaining stage involves exploring various options and proposing potential solutions to address conflicting interests. Parties engage in give-and-take, making concessions, and seeking areas of agreement. Creative problem-solving techniques, such as brainstorming or exploring alternative scenarios, can help uncover innovative solutions that meet the needs of both parties. Flexibility is key. Rigidly holding onto one’s viewpoint can hinder resolution. Being open to alternative solutions and willing to compromise aids in the successful resolution of conflict. 

Effective negotiation isn’t about winning but collaboration and finding a mutually beneficial solution. As the negotiation progresses, parties work toward reaching a consensus or agreement. This involves refining proposals, considering trade-offs, and finding common ground. It may require further adjustments, compromises, or modifications to the initial positions to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Once an agreement is reached, the negotiation enters the closure stage. Parties finalize the agreement’s details, ensuring that all relevant terms and conditions are addressed. They may document the agreement in writing to provide clarity and serve as a reference for future implementation.

A Case Study in Conflict Resolution

To illustrate the result of implementing the techniques we’ve discussed collectively, let us consider the story of Jeff and Dana, who were conflicted over how a critical project should be handled. Jeff proposed an innovative, riskier approach that could lead to greater rewards. Dana, on the other hand, wanted to follow a more traditional, tried-and-tested route. The disagreement escalated, leading to significant tension between them.

A mediation meeting was called to resolve the issue. The mediator set up a structured negotiation process, starting with active listening. Both Jeff and Dana were allowed to express their viewpoints fully. The mediator ensured that while one was speaking, the other was actively listening, refraining from interruptions, and paying full attention to the other’s concerns.

Empathy was encouraged throughout the process. Each party was prompted to reflect on the other’s perspective, focusing on the proposed strategy and their motivations and concerns.

The mediator guided the conversation to ensure mindful and assertive communication. Jeff and Dana were encouraged to express their viewpoints clearly and respectfully, focusing on the issue and avoiding personal criticisms.

Through mindful discussion, shared interests began to emerge. Both Jeff and Dana wanted the project to succeed; they both wanted to deliver a high-quality product within the set timeline. Recognizing these shared interests helped to shift the conversation from a win-lose to a win-win mentality.

After brainstorming possible solutions, Jeff and Dana made amends and found a compromise. Both acknowledged the stress their conflict had caused. Jeff apologized for dismissing Dana’s caution as resistance to change. Dana, in turn, apologized for labeling Jeff’s innovative approach as recklessness. They agreed to blend their strategies, incorporating elements of innovation while also following proven methods to mitigate risk. 

Conflict resolution comprises a range of techniques that, when combined effectively, lead to optimal outcomes with constructive solutions. They promote a productive environment, turning potential disagreements into opportunities for growth, understanding, and strengthening relationships. Mastering these strategies can lead to more effective conflict management and, ultimately, empowered outcomes for all participants.

Series Conclusion

As we conclude our journey, let’s take a moment to weave together the various threads we’ve explored and highlight the harmony they create.

This exploration begins with understanding conflict, not as a foe to be defeated but as an opportunity to learn, grow, and transform. This understanding stems from our examination of the causes and stages of conflict. Recognizing the sources and progression of conflict helps us anticipate and manage disagreements before they spiral into a full-blown confrontation.

At the nucleus of our exploration and indeed, the essence of mindful conflict resolution, we find these four pillars: a growth mindset, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and mindfulness. A growth mindset furnishes us with the ability to view conflicts as opportunities for improvement, inspiring us to communicate effectively, manage our responses, and continually learn from our experiences. Emotional intelligence equips us with the capacity to empathize, communicate effectively, and manage our emotions. At the same time, self-awareness helps us recognize our behaviors, triggers, and patterns, as well as the role we play in conflicts. Finally, mindfulness helps us remain fully present and aware during the entire conflict resolution process, creating a genuine connection to the other party’s perspectives, emotions, and needs.

By illuminating our internal thought patterns and emotional terrain, we are more proficiently prepared to navigate the external world, especially when resolving the conflicts we inevitably encounter.

But the journey doesn’t end with understanding ourselves. We’ve also learned that the environment in which conflict resolution occurs is paramount. Cultivating a supportive environment where individuals feel heard, respected, and valued creates a bedrock of trust. Such an atmosphere can encourage open, respectful communication, leading to more positive outcomes.

Our expedition exposed us to an array of mindful strategies and techniques for conflict management. These are the practical tools that, when applied with care, can help us de-escalate conflict and find common ground. Techniques such as active listening, respectful communication, negotiation, and making amends not only aid in resolving the conflict at hand but also pave the way for stronger relationships and healthier communication in the future.

Yet, we go beyond merely incorporating these tools. We propose a synergistic approach that unites the traditional conflict management process with inner understanding, creating a far more robust and resilient system. By bringing a state of open, nonjudgmental, present-moment awareness into each step of the conflict management process, we cultivate a responsiveness that allows us to navigate conflict with greater flexibility and wisdom. This transformative approach can reduce future disputes and increase our capacity for empathy, compassion, and collaboration.

In conclusion, conflict resolution is not a matter of “winning” but about understanding, communicating, and growing. It’s about stepping into the arena with self-awareness, emotional resilience, and a growth mindset. It’s about nurturing supportive environments that respect and value all participants. And finally, it’s about skillfully applying mindfulness techniques to resolve the conflict and emerge stronger on the other side. 

By infusing mindfulness into every stage of conflict, we ensure not just resolution but also evolution for ourselves and our relationships. We empower ourselves to face challenges with empathy, compassion, and grace, creating a more harmonious world. That is the essence of thriving through turmoil and resolving conflicts with clarity.

I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I did writing it! Please take a minute and join my email list to get updates and announcements about new articles, events, and programs. All the best!

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About Brad

Hi, I'm Brad, the founder of Sierramind. My own transformational journey taught me that I am the architect of my own destiny and that the things I think and do in the present moment determine the quality of my future. With that as the foundation of my mindset, everything changed!

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