Book review: Managing Conflict at Work

Emma de Vita reviews the new book by Clive Johnson and Jackie Keddy

Off the shelf
Off the shelf

Are you the sort of manager who thrives on office disagreements? Or are you the type who runs a mile from a raised voice?

Learning how to deal with disagreements and misunderstandings is a key part of any manager's job - and it is a real test of your mettle.

In Managing Conflict at Work, the authors Clive Johnson and Jackie Keddy help you to "understand and resolve conflict for productive working relationships". When a dispute takes place, there are several approaches to reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

These include attempting to resolve the matter on a one-to-one basis, taking a direct approach (also known as bashing heads together) or engaging a third party to help broker a way forward. Often the most straightforward and easiest way to resolve a disagreement between two of your team members is by bashing their heads together.

This usually works only if an impasse hasn't already been reached. If both parties have dug their heels in, it might be necessary to call in someone neutral to take on the role of 'critical parent' and get them to kiss and make up. Try revoking their pocket money - it might just work wonders.

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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