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Book Review:  Resolving Conflicts at Work: Thank goodness someone is adding a little of the truth!  

Conflict Resolution is a field we all recognise as important as it impacts on almost, if not, everybody.   With an abundance of resources on handling conflict resolution one has to wonder why we don’t seem to be making any progress in reducing the conflicts we experience in our day-to-day life.  In ‘Resolving Conflicts at Work’ we find, as promised, 10 strategies and a few hard truths about conflict resolution, including why we have difficulty resolving conflicts.

The two authors Cloke and Goldsmith work at the Centre for Dispute Resolution. Cloke is the Director and Consultant who is reported to be a leader in the field of conflict resolution.  While, Goldsmith, with her extensive experience, specialises in leadership development and conflict resolution. 

The 10 strategies discussed in the book are: Understanding the culture, Listen with empathy, Search for the hidden meaning, Acknowledge and reframe emotions, separate what matters from what doesn’t, solve problems creatively, learn from difficult behaviours, lead and coach for transformation, explore resistance and have systems for preventing conflicts.  Cloke and Goldsmith go into a lot of detail.  I suspect most people will find something new in this book.   I know I loved hearing the details presented, very comprehensive.  Most if not all readers of this book will gain useful information from the 10 strategies.   However it’s the hard truths that interested me the most.

'The mob fears the truth… And being part of a mob is a good way to hide from that fear.’ 

A couple of the hard truths: 

               1) The need to take ownership of our own part in conflicts.  Oh how many of us want to play the blame game instead.

               2) The importance of building our awareness and skills.  It really is up to us to develop our self.  

If you’ve read and or listened to me before, you’ll realise both of these hard truths right up my alley. 

At the same time, being hard truths, they remind me of Seth Godin’s word  ‘The mob fears the truth… And being part of a mob is a good way to hide from that fear.’  Many us of aren’t yet ready to face hard truths.    Still even if you want to be part of the mob, while developing your understanding and skills of Conflict Resolution this book has plenty to offer.

'For example when they discuss the value of honesty they also note being honest can be a problem.'

What I loved:

             I loved how the authors acknowledges things aren’t always ideal or easy,….  For example when they discuss the value of honesty they also note being honest can be a problem.

Too often books tell you the ideal, which I got caught on for soooo long.  Thinking if I did things right all would work out well. The reality is even the very best of strategies don’t always work!    In my experience, no matter how well intended and sometimes no matter how skilled, if the other(s) don’t want to resolve the conflict; it just isn’t going to happen!   So from this perspective this book is a breathe of fresh air. 

What I struggled with:

            At first I found this book a bit too abstract for me.  It was hard to take in.  Then I got to realise maybe it is me (My ABI).  The truth is there is just sooo much information.    I accessed kindle of 400 pages and Audio version and, to be honest, I am going to be listening and listening to this book over and over again to maximise my uptake of the detailed information.

So in conclusion:

            This is a book for anyone serious in developing their ability to understand and manage difficult conversations whether at work or at home.  This is also a book I recommend getting in audio so you can keep listening and absorbing.  One read just isn’t going to do it.  It is an excellent resource book for Conflict Resolution and insights into Difficult.


Godin, Seth.  2019 Seth’s Blog: The mob fears the truth. 23rd May 2019

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