Pub: The Age
Pubdate: Saturday 21st of April 2007
Section: My Career, Page: 4,
Expert advice: Wendy Taylor
Everyone Can Win: Responding to conflict constructively
Helena Cornelius and Shoshana Faire, Simon & Schuster (2006) $24.95
Good conflict-resolution skills are some of the most valuable "people skills" a person can have in the workplace today but, sadly, too few managers and employees possess them. If you are interested in honing these skills and becoming a person who is comfortable dealing with conflict rather avoiding it, this book, a revised and updated version of one released 17 years ago, will be a worthwhile purchase.
The authors, Helena Cornelius and Shoshana Faire, are two Australian mediators and workshop leaders who have more than 20 years' experience resolving disputes and defusing tensions in organisations, schools and community groups as well as between individuals.
They advocate a collaborative approach to conflict resolution, one that recognises everyone's needs and strives to ensure the best possible outcome for all the parties. They help readers analyse how they are approaching conflict and then offer tools that will lead to a more constructive alternative. Their theories, tools and strategies are grouped under 12 topics, which include responding to conflict, appropriate assertiveness, managing emotions, designing options and negotiating.
There are also anecdotes and stories sprinkled throughout each chapter, which demonstrate the dialogue people have used to redirect arguments, break a destructive pattern or get someone to listen to them. Although some people may not connect with some of the language used in the first chapter - when they talk about getting centred - the book focuses on everyday issues people face at home and at work. It consistently offers practical and easy-to-use strategies
The first edition sold 80,000 copies in Australia - a huge number for our small market - and was reprinted in five languages. This edition deserves to be just as successful.