Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement (Paperback)
“Innovative and practical.” —Lawrence Susskind, cofounder, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School
Every workplace is a minefield of conflict, and all office tension is shaped by power. This book teaches you to identify the nature of a conflict, determine your power position relative to anyone opposing you, and to use the best strategy for achieving your goals. These strategies are equally effective for executives, managers and their direct reports, consultants and attorneys—anyone who has ever had a disagreement with someone in their organization. Packed with helpful self-assessment exercises and action plans, Making Conflict Work gives you the tools you need to achieve greater satisfaction and success.
“Navigating conflict effectively is an essential component of leadership. Making Conflict Work illustrates when to compromise and when to continue driving forward.” —Honorable David N. Dinkins, 106th mayor of the City of New York
“An excellent workbook-like guide.” —Booklist, starred review
PETER COLEMAN is a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College and the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the director of Columbia’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. He is also a New York State certified mediator and experienced consultant whose clients include IBM, Citibank, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department.
ROBERT FERGUSON is a psychologist and executive coach who has provided consulting, conflict resolution, mediation, and leadership training to organizations including Credit Suisse USA, Merrill Lynch, Ahlstrom, Kennametal, KBI Biopharma, and Aegon.
—Booklist, STARRED review
"A practical guide to redirecting energies from conflict toward the achievement of goals. Grounded in more than 15 years of research, Coleman and Ferguson’s findings offer insight into the strategies and skills necessary for managing work disputes and show how to make conflict work for you instead of against you...Full of valuable advice, this book will help readers develop better strategies for workplace disagreements."
"Coleman and Ferguson have done something remarkable: they’ve written an evidence-based book on the complex topic of conflict and made it easy to read, easy to understand and, best of all, easy to use. A genuine winner."
—Robert B. Cialdini, author, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
"Navigating conflict effectively is an essential component of leadership. Making Conflict Work illustrates when to compromise and when to continue driving forward."
—Honorable David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of the City of New York
"This book is a necessity. As someone who has navigated the traps of power and conflict across the globe, it is refreshing to find a book that calls it what it is, and offers useful advice on turning traps into prospects for change. Read it."
—Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Liberian peace activist
"Making Conflict Work gives us a way to think about how we deal with conflict in hierarchical organizations. Especially helpful are the chapters that link conflict intelligence—how we routinely deal with conflict—to actionable strategies."
—Deborah M. Kolb, professor emerita, Simmons College Graduate School of Management
"Through a superb balance of interviews, case studies, and evidence-based insights, the authors provide valuable lessons on how leaders can manage conflict."
—Steve Cohen, executive director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
"An innovative and practical look at how to navigate everyday disagreements to reach your goals, serving up examples of best practice drawn from the authors’ decades of experience helping others cope with conflict, power and change."
—Larry Susskind, cofounder, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
"Managers who try to suppress conflict not only make things worse, but also stifle opportunities for creative problem-solving. Making Conflict Work should be essential reading for all managers."
—Michael Wheeler, retired professor, Harvard Business School; author, The Art of Negotiation
“How to manage conflict when there are differences in power has always been a tricky problem. Coleman and Ferguson bring coherence and highly constructive advice to dealing with these situations.”
—Roy J Lewicki, Max M. Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
“Both intriguing and useful, Making Conflict Work invites readers to move beyond their comfort zones into new territories where personal responsibility makes the difference.”
—Dr. Andrea Bartoli, School of Diplomacy and International Diplomacy, Seton Hall University
“Conflict is part of our lives and cannot be suppressed. This book provides the tools to manage it.”
—Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary-General for Peace-Keeping Operations at the United Nations
“Unless you live in a cave and interact with no one, you need to read this book. Conflict is an inherent part of human society. Making Conflict Work turns it from a problem into an opportunity."
—Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International; author, Between Two Worlds
“Coleman and Ferguson transform the world of conflict management with Making Conflict Work. By exploring the interaction of power and conflict, they open new insights into the causes and possible resolutions of conflict in organizational settings. This rich offering provides leaders and practitioners with highly practical tactics and techniques to address the inevitable conflicts they will face.”
—Craig E. Runde, Center for Conflict Dynamics; author, Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader
“Conflict is unavoidable, but the self-defeating strategies and limiting tactics we often turn to are avoidable. This wonderfully practical guide will expand your mindset and repertoire of skills, enabling you to turn conflict on its head and make it work for you—instead of against you.”
—Rob Kaiser, author, The Versatile Leader: Make the Most of Your Strengths Without Overdoing It
“Managing conflict is a critical skill for career progression. For women in leadership, getting it wrong can make them look too weak, or too aggressive. This innovative book adds a new level to the discussion: the role of power. I specifically like the lists of pragmatic tactics for addressing conflict in a power structure such as between a boss and a subordinate.”
—Wanda T. Wallace , author, Reaching the Top: Five Factors that Affect the Careers and Retention of Senior Women Leaders
“Leadership puts you in position to make decisions. Having served in the Navy and the corporate world, I found Making Conflict Work to be the best book I’ve read on navigating conflict up and down the organization, key to making the best decision possible.”
—Captain John E. Cole USN (RET), former chief of staff, Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command
“In an age when global and geopolitical tensions grab headlines, many of the most complex conflicts still occur in the battle of the boardroom and warfare of the workplace. Making Conflict Work provides critical strategies and tactics to transform even the most besieged organization. From practical self-assessments to cautionary reminders of the consequences of misusing each strategy, Coleman and Ferguson lay out a user-friendly framework to navigate the minefields of corporate politics and power.”
—Johnston S. Barkat, Assistant Secretary-General, Ombudsman & Mediation Services, United Nations
“Differences of opinion are the root of innovation. Conflict is thus inevitable, and power is necessary –– we need it to reach our goals. Making Conflict Work links these two fundamental dimensions of human interaction, pointing the way toward constructive achievement by individuals and organizations.”
—Pierre Naquet, président, European Institute for Workplace Dynamics