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Conflict Management Skills for Building Stronger Relationships

September 18, 2023

Presentation of a treasure box

"Learning these skills is not only character-building for ourselves, we also are modeling better conflict management for others."


Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship.

Whether it’s a family relationship, a friendship, a partnership, or a professional collaboration, conflicts will arise as a problem to solve.  Yet those problems tend to feel personal and often we react, rather than respond, to the conflict causing more harm than when we started.  Few of us have learned conflict tools for honoring the relationship while working through the conflict.  We tend to see the other person as the problem and conflicts then become about who is right or wrong and outcomes become limited to your way or my way.  The way we approach and manage conflict plays a crucial role in the quality and duration of our relationships.   In fact, conflict managed well can help improve relationships by fostering understanding, empathy, and collaboration, producing outcomes that work for each person and their situation.


One of the fundamental aspects of conflict management is effective communication.

By developing strong communication skills, individuals can express their thoughts, needs, and concerns clearly.  Tools learned in skill building include using “I” statements, listening well, and clarifying what you think you hear by restating and reframing, which means listening to understand.  This is also known as active listening.  Active listening builds understanding as well as empathy.  Through listening well, individuals come to understand the story behind someone else’s experience and recognize the validity of their story through their lens.  This is empathy.  This understanding and the effort to understand, combined with empathy, fosters feeling heard and seen, which creates a foundation for stronger relationships by building trust, safety, and connection.  When these ingredients are present, it creates an environment where ideas and resolutions can be generated and explored.


There is a treasure chest of conflict management skills to learn, but these skills do not come naturally to us.  We are hard-wired to protect and defend.  So are the people who we are in conflict with. 

Conflict can, however, be an opportunity for personal and relational growth.  By approaching conflicts with a growth mindset, we can recognize them as learning experiences that allow us to understand ourselves and others better.  Conflict management skills aid in transforming conflicts into opportunities for growth, self-reflection, and development, both individually and within the relationship.   Learning these skills is not only character-building for ourselves, we also are modeling better conflict management for others.  

Conflict management skills are invaluable tools that help improve relationships by promoting effective communication, empathy, understanding, connection, and emotional safety.  By resolving conflicts amicably, individuals can strengthen their relationships and create a foundation of trust, mutual respect, and collaboration.  We can transform conflicts from being destructive forces into opportunities for growth and learning, creating healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Written by:
Kimberly Best, RN, MA
Best Conflict Solutions, LLC

College of Leadership and Public Service News