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Win at Work!: The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Katz PhD

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Chapter 3. What's Your Conflict Resolution Style?

Like most of us, I learned how to deal with conflict (rather ineffectively, I might add) at home when I was a kid. In my house, we yelled when we were angry, and I cried when I got upset. Going to work, the unwritten rules I learned were that you did not yell or cry. (I subsequently learned that losing your temper was acceptable if you were a prima donna or a bully with clout.)

I picked up such cues everywhere I worked, learning as I went along what the accepted conflict behavior was at each job I held. On Wall Street, raising one's voice and being confrontational were often the norms. When I moved to Tucson, by contrast, I learned that not disagreeing openly, and smiling and doing what you wanted to do is the norm.

Of course, I am exaggerating somewhat here, but you get my point. Every organization has a conflict resolution culture: its norms of behavior and unwritten rules about how conflict is and is not handled.

In some company cultures, no one deals directly with conflict; it is discussed with others not involved. Confrontation, even in a problem-solving manner, is viewed as impolite. In other cultures, it is more acceptable to complain to your allies and not address your adversaries. Other businesses follow the custom that allows for some confrontation and some undermining of one's adversaries. And, finally, there are those organizations that encourage problem-solving processes, and even offer confidential mediation.

Like organizations, ...

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