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There are various keys to a successful conflict resolution. Prominent among them is the GHOST principle.

The GHOST principle is a set of guidelines that assist individuals as they try to successfully resolve a conflict. This principle provides a guided set of rules to help individuals contribute and partake in having a successful conversation even in the resolution of complex disputes.

The first step is to be Gentle. By being gentle, you must act courageously, you must not back down when issues arise. You must stand your ground, remain steady and face the issue head on. But go about the issue in a gentle manner.

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Secondly, you must be Honest. In mediating a conflict, you must be honest in all you say and in all you do. As you lead or mediate a conversation,you must set an example for all to follow. If people choose to be less honest and leave their feelings unexpressed, the quality of the resolution is jeopardized. When both parties experience the conversation as authentic and honest, then their perceptions of threat and retaliation is replaced by perception of connection and relatedness and they automatically commit to the process. Parties must be open about their own perceptions in conversation and share relevant information. They should not hide secrets nor keep their thoughts within but rather honestly share them in a gentle manner.

Thirdly, always ensure that you are Open. In order to resolve the conflict or have a successful conversation with your important people, you must be willing to listen to and learn from the other party. Do not take issues personally but share them to get a collective response to those issues. You cannot change if you do not have an open mind, ie. Be open to the other person’s point of view, concerns or understanding of the matter. In being open you allow brainstorming to take place which permits others to bring out their ideas on how the issue can be resolved.

Also, be Specific about what you mean by giving examples for clarification without leaving any room for assumptions. As you attempt to resolve the conflict, you should not make assumptions that the other party understands what you mean as words have different meanings with different connotation in different circumstances or with people from different cultural backgrounds. So always clarify and check whether the other party understands exactly what you mean. Being specific helps parties to be clear on each other’s perspectives on the issues at stake and also helps them in understanding their Beliefs, Expectations, Assumptions, Concerns and Hopes, giving room for clarification where there is a  distorted view.

Finally you must Talk. Communication is the most important aspect of conflict resolution. It is the base for any kind of relationship. Speaking gently to each other, listening to what each person has to say and understanding are all essential in the resolution process which can only be achieved when parties engage in a talk. The key to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement comes by talking. Not talking leads to erosion of communication and understanding.  If there is effective communication between parties then 50 percent of the problem has been solved as you only get to understand the underlying interest or concerns of the other party when they talk about it. Thinking without talking is dangerous as you will always dwell on misconceived perception or assumptions of what may or may not even exist in a matter. In a case where communication is lacking, progress would be at a standstill and all resolution attempts will be futile.

So whenever you want to have a conversation or resolve a dispute, employ the GHOST principle for a desired outcome.

ADR Daily


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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.