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Listening to Conflict

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Listening to Conflict

Finding Constructive Solutions to Workplace Disputes


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Before you smash that smirking son of a gun, pause for a moment and actually listen to what he’s saying.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


No matter what size your business is, chances are you’ve had to deal with conflicts at work. Relationship-management skills are critical in any business. Author Erik J. Van Slyke examines the underlying problems that cause conflicts and determines that resolution is not about negotiating strategy as much as it is about understanding people. Listening is your primary weapon. When arguing, cajoling and persuading fail to solve a conflict, listening can prevail. Throughout, the book strikes a delicate balance between explaining the psychological roots of communication problems and detailing strategies that can help you guide people in overcoming those obstacles. A series of step-by-step guidelines assists in understanding and employing the author’s suggestions. getAbstract recommends this book for everyone who wants a clear approach to conflict resolution.


Incompatibility Equals Conflict

Conflict occurs among parties who believe that their needs, goals or ideas are incompatible. It has three important elements: competition, interdependence and perceived incompatibility.

  • Competition - This is the process of striving to "win." Winning could mean getting your way, or making sure others do not. Trying to win establishes a competitive environment. Often, competition is unconscious and hard to detect. It may come in the form of syrupy smiles and phony friendships. People develop unconscious competitive behavior tactics over their lifetimes to help them achieve their objectives. However, research shows that cooperation is much more productive than competition, which causes conflict and can really get in the way of a constructive resolution.
  • Interdependence - At some level, people must depend on each other. Managers need employees to produce results and employees need managers for advice, compensation and feedback. Conflict creates a dilemma. Your preferred outcome requires the other person’s participation. But, you would also like to achieve your goals independent of the person standing in your way. When each party...

About the Author

Erik J. Van Slyke is a principal with HR Alliance, a human resources consulting and training firm. He has been cited in The Wall Street Journal and the BNA Employee Relations Weekly.

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