Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement

Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement

Author: Peter T. Coleman

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Publish Date: September 2, 2014

ISBN-10: 0544148398

Pages: 304

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

HOW WELL DO you manage conflict with your boss or other superiors at work, or with the more difficult employees you need to supervise?
Belligerent bosses, petulant employees, demanding and disrespectful clients, former peers you now supervise, psychopathological CEOs. No matter how old you are, how long you have been in the work world, how many conflict-management trainings you have attended (or slept through), or how many best-selling books on difficult conversations you have read, problems with characters like these—up and down the food chain at work—are exhausting and can feel impossible. What can you do when your boss holds all the cards and enjoys being a jerk? Or when an employee you really depend on is constantly whining and being difficult? Or when vitally important clients insist on being demeaning?

When Sam* heard that the reorganization of his company had him reporting to a woman thirty years younger than him, he went quietly to his office and stewed. He liked and respected Isabella; the sting he felt was not personal. But he had come up through the ranks of manufacturing in the eighties and nineties and had the battle scars to prove it. Now he’d be taking orders from someone a few years out of an MBA program. He tried to avoid contact with her and quickly acquiesced to her at the first hint of a difference of opinion. It made their working relationship excruciating for both of them.

Tammy responded differently. When her friend Susan became her supervisor at the nongovernmental organization they worked for, Tammy mumbled, “She’s one of them now.” Tammy believed that all people in positions of power grew to like it and abuse it. Although her former friend tried repeatedly to collaborate with her, Tammy treated her as a defector. Eventually Susan had to fire Tammy for a series of disciplinary problems and insubordination. Tammy pushed Susan to be confrontational and punitive and so confirmed her own bias about those in power.

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Epub October 4, 2014

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