Identify the problems and define it. The first step to resolving conflict is to identify the issues at stake. A proper problem definition must be carried out, with all the elements defined, causes identified, the principal actors isolated, their main grievances marked out, the contending issues prioritized and the demands of each party well outlined. While drafting the statement of the problem, the leader must ensure that no issue from either of the parties is censored. Rather, they should be stated in their order of importance and the intensity of their presentation.
Talk to people with like minds. A leader is a solution provider and not necessarily a hard liner. After listening to all the parties, the leader should prioritize the issues, identify possible solutions or key personalities who hold the ace card. The leader should begin to gain ground and resolution momentum by talking to like minds on the problems, find common ground of action and agree on commonalities in order to deal with the issues.
Form a team with common understanding of the problem and solutions. Once the commonalities have been established about the problems and likely approaches for dealing with the issues, the leader must form an all-inclusive team with a term of reference for dealing with the issues. The team must be balanced, impartial and must have full understanding of all interests being advanced by all the parties concerned.
Reach out to people of different views. The leader and his team must establish contact with people of divergent views and work hard to win their confidence. It will be impossible to work towards resolving any conflict without engaging all the parties in the different divide.
Identify what is key and of utmost importance to each group. During the conversation process with each group, it will become clear to the leader the major issues requiring resolution. At this stage, some of the veiled demands which are the major drivers of the conflict will be identified and brought to the fore. Once the key issues have been identified, prioritize them and work towards the resolution of each item.
Fix a date and a venue for dialogue or negotiation. There must be a deliberate plan to work towards resolution of identified issues. The leader must call for a meeting through a medium that all the stakeholders can access and receive information. The agenda of the meeting must be open, fair and encompassing to all the parties, with open invitation for dialogue and/or negotiation.
If dialogue fails, call for mediation or arbitration. The road to peace is sometimes tortuous and dusty. It is not a one stop shop but consist of several processes where efforts can sometimes be unnoticed and unrewarded. However, the process of dialogue must be sustained until fruitful results are garnered. Where dialogue seems threaten, the process must not be allowed to come to an abrupt end. The leader must work harder, by getting a mediator or an arbitrator to take over the conflict resolution process. The mediator/arbitrator must be a person or institution that is respected and seen to be impartial by all the parties.
Always be ready to shift ground, make concessions or compromise. This may be a necessary option if it will create an atmosphere for satisfactory dialogue, participation of all concerned and avoidance of withdrawal from the conflict resolution process.
If negotiation succeeds, draft terms of agreement for all parties to sign. This is very key to the conflict resolution process. The leader and their team must create a draft statement of the terms of agreement, the responsibility of each party and the various programs that shall be put in place to ensure lasting peace and harmony reigns. The draft agreement shall be forwarded to all the parties for their review and comments. Thereafter, a session for agreement signing shall be held in the presence of key witnesses and this could be preceded with oath administration.
Set up monitoring and evaluation teams. Based on the terms and condition of the agreement, the leader should set up a joint monitoring and evaluation team to ensure full implementation of the agreement. The team must submit periodic report to the central working committee of progress made and grey areas requiring further deliberation/clarification by the general house.
Keep talking no matter what. The leader must ensure the conversation is ongoing no matter what. The more the level of engagement, the better; as more ice is being melted and centralized consensus is being generated
Symbolize the agreement by planting a tree or instituting a ceremonial event. To ensure the process of resolution has gone its full cycle, the leader and all parties involved must institute a symbolic event or ceremony that will become a reference symbol of the process. This can take the form of annual agreement celebration, planting of a tree or establishment of a game, tournament or festival in memory of the agreement by all the parties.