How to Manage Conflict

Posted on August 6, 2010


“How To Manage Conflict: Turn All Conflicts Into Win-Win Outcomes” by Peg Pickering is a useful little book with some practical suggestions for handling conflict. It is aimed at the manager who must deal with conflict with employees, vendors, and customers, but some of the information is practical for other settings as well.

It’s a short book and very easy to read. And while it does not go into depth regarding conflict resolution theories like some texts, it does provide simple, practical advice that you can implement right now without knowing a lot of the modern theories out there. Much of the information in this book is presented in lists, bullet points, and a very simple to read format.

The book is organized into ten short chapters. At the end of each chapter, there is a section titled “Reflections.” These reflections are more than a review or summary of the chapters. In fact, some of the chapters are basically a review or summary of a concept. The reflections are there to make the reader think, and I liked that. There are questions for you to think about and answer to better understand yourself, and to better implement the concepts and strategies into your own situations.

The ten chapters cover these topics: Fundamentals of Conflict, Types of Conflict, Identifying Conflict Stages, Conflict Management Styles, Constructive Management Styles, Communication’s Contribution to Conflict, Emotional Aspects of Conflict, The Intervention Team, Dealing with Angry Customers, and A Parting Philosophy. There is also a short suggested reading list.

Again, the entire book is just over 100 pages long, and there is a lot of white space, so none of the topics is covered with any depth. However, for a down and dirty outline on conflict, it has some very good points. Because I work in the conflict field, I’m used to much longer texts on the topic, but I found this a refreshing little guide and primer. For many people, it will be just what they need to deal with certain situations they face.

I especially like the “Reflections” sections because it in not enough to just read about conflict. You must “Think” about it. These sections, if people will honestly do them, will assist people in understanding themselves and others in conflict situations. That’s the first step, then a person must practice conflict resolution skills and continue to use them as they grow as peacemakers.

As someone who has shelves of books dealing with all aspects of conflict, this is a nice little book to have there, and the quick read was a good review of certain concepts. For the manager or business person who only has a short amount of time to learn some basics on dealing with conflict to better perform leadership duties, this book should be very helpful.

Alain Burrese, J.D. is a performance and personal development expert who teaches how to live, take action, and get things done through the Warrior’s Edge. Alain combines his military, martial art, and Asian experiences with his business, law, and conflict resolution education into a powerful way of living with balance, honor, and integrity. He teaches how to use the Warrior’s Edge to Take Action and Achieve Remarkable Results. Alain is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From The School Of Hard Knocks, the DVDs Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, the Lock On Joint Locking series, and numerous articles and reviews. You can read more articles and reviews and see clips of his DVDs as well as much more at and

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