Conflicts await you everywhere – from the workplace to your home to a queue at the supermarket. They all are unpleasant, unconstructive, and need resolution. But the point is, conflicts differ. In some, you are embroiled as a passionate side, and in some, you are the third-party responsible for quenching the fire. What does that mean (except that you have additional work to do)? It means that you need to approach these conflicts differently because, in one situation, you will be a moderator, in other situations you will be the one to be pacified and made to listen to others, and in some cases, you will be the one triggering the problem with your behavior (although unwittingly).
Fortunately, scholars have explored the matter and can offer you tailored solutions for every type of conflict in the form of books, well written and packed with useful tips. For sure, a good conflict resolution training program will contain the necessary amount of theory and lots of exercises to hone the skills. But if you begin with these books and then transition into this program knowing what to look for and what questions to ask, the benefits of this training will increase manifold for you.
Management of workplace conflict based on opposing interests
1. Robert Fisher and William Uri have created their bestseller Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In based on their experience in the psychology of negotiations. This book is cherished by many because it suggests an approach to negotiations that is clear and comprehensive. Principles of negotiations outlined by Fisher and Uri can be successfully used in any setting, but they have primarily impressed negotiations in business.
2. Robert Sutton knew what he was doing when he gave his impressive and useful book such a provocative title: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't. As he explained, only this explicit word could explain the nastiness of behavior he aimed to combat, and so the following advice becomes more compelling. Behind the title, the book is packed with impressive evidence and tips on confronting outward bullies and leading the negotiations successfully even if the other party proudly wears this icky title. We want to draw your attention to this book, and in a worthy conflict resolution training program, you will definitely meet examples of theory and practice from this book.
Management of conflict based on inappropriate patterns of behavior
3. The story of profound drama stands behind the creation of the book The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, and it makes her even more persuasive and valuable. If the people of warring nations could make peace and find ways to coexist safely, then people who do not have ages-long animosity between them can do it as well. The book focuses on exploring own behavior, evaluating it, adjusting it to fit the actual situation (and not the subjective image of it), and so eradicating the very root of the problem. Our rating: Ten stars out of five.
4. It is the wrong word at the wrong time that often sparks the bitterest of conflicts. The book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most written by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen focuses on this issue: it teaches to converse without being aggressive, defensive, and deaf to what others say. The book was reissued a few times and the demand for it in any conflict resolution training program never declines.
Management of conflicts: the role of moderator
5. If there is any book deserving the title of the classics of mediation, then it is The Mediator’s Handbook. The manual was created by the team of Jenifer Beer, Caroline Packard, Elizabeth Crates, and Eileen Stief. The book offers not only advice but the full models of approaching mediation, evaluating conflicts, and solving them. These models work well in schools and big corporations alike. So whether you are a weathered mediator or just start your career, you will find this book helpful many times.
A book or a conflict resolution training program?
Both, of course. If you read the texts we suggest, you may understand what you have to do, but you lack supervised practice. If you attend a program, you get the skills, but you need to refresh them now and then on the spot. That’s what the books are for. So opt for both and become a professional negotiator!