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The 3E Principle for Conflict Resolution


All of us have had to deal with conflict at some point in our lives. Find out how the military uses the 3E principle for conflict resolution
Conflict resolution

Humans are unique. Each individual brings with them a certain set of ideas, beliefs, and perspectives shaped by their lives' outcomes. When interacting with others, whether in a personal or professional setting, we often forget that we may not hold the same point of view as them, leading to a breakdown in communication, resentment, and conflict.


The flood of emotions that come with conflict will always be a part of our lives. However, it's important to look beyond them and figure out a way towards conflict resolution. My time in the military enlightened me on the 3E Principle, and perhaps it can help you take the initiative.


Explain

The first step is to acknowledge that the two parties are in disagreement or misunderstand ideas and beliefs, resulting in conflict. If one of the parties is initiating talks, the onus is on them to set future communication grounds. The critical thing to remember here is that this gives an overview of how conflict resolution will pan out for them.


Here, you have to explain that this situation exists, these are the facts, what can we do to move forward, and what can we do to prevent this sequence of events from happening again. You must take care not to inflict blame in this step as, blame leads to barriers, and barriers lead to a person becoming defensive, breaking down communication and taking us back to square one.


Explore

When we’ve had the chance to weigh in, we’re more likely to buy-in. Here the initiator has to listen and understand the other party's perspective involved in the conflict, validate their emotions and feelings, and find common ground.


Finding common ground helps us highlight the aspects of the conversation where both parties can move towards conflict resolution. This isn’t straightforward because realizing that our limited perspectives and beliefs take courage on our part to accept where we’re wrong.

The trade of emotions and vulnerability involved in this step makes it the most challenging. Hence, this step has to be done calmly with control over one’s body language and tone.


Empower

At this point, both parties involved have shared their perspective on the matter. Now the initiator puts the onus on the other party to share solutions to work towards conflict resolution. People are more likely to comply with the solutions they come up with.


Both parties may need to work together to establish boundaries or employ other means of approaching the problem if what they’re trying to resolve is out of their control. Your role in this is to provide, help resources, or include more people to try and resolve the issue. It helps to go back and forth with the exploration and empowerment phase to develop solutions.


Employing methods like the 3E principle for conflict resolution helps us grow as a person. It shows us our limited perspectives and helps us gauge the context behind people's actions, fostering empathy, understanding, and collaboration. The 3E principle is not a sure-fire way of resolving conflict.


If you’re are dealing with conflict and would love to share your perspective on this, visit my website to find One on One Coaching and Inner Work podcasts. Always remember, we need to seek understanding first before we seek to be understood.


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