I began writing my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies, four years ago, here on my Ki Moments blog, with six posts on "The Manager as Mediator: 5 Tips for Managing Conflict Between Co-Workers". At the time, I was engaged in an intervention between two coworkers at a large insurance company, both of whom were highly regarded by the organization. The problem was that they were also mired in a conflict that was causing stress--to them, their team, and the organization.
After several months of individual and joint sessions, the dynamic between the two had so changed that they reported on the process to their team, and in an article for the company newsletter, describing the benefits of engaging conflict with positive intent, support and clarity of purpose.
A Process and Guide
Turn Enemies into Allies is a precise and practical guide for catching employee conflict before it escalates and coaching the parties to resolution. It is a process I developed to help two individuals resolve conflict, communicate more effectively, and rebuild a working relationship. As I refined and developed the process over time, I became convinced that managers and leaders could do what I did and achieve similar results.
And so I expanded the posts into a book that offers a deliberate and methodical way of working with employees in conflict--an approach that draws on my expertise in conflict and communication skillbuilding as well as my training in mind-body principles from the martial art aikido.
As I write in the book....
Dealing with conflict is an essential element of management, and yet one that many managers avoid. Conflict can be hard, complex, and fraught with emotional roadblocks. If you find yourself stuck in this mindset, it’s harder to see the benefits of conflicting views, such as the advantage that multiple perspectives bring to the solution of a problem.
However, with a shift in perspective, an investment of time and practice, and the clearly defined four phase model in this book, you’ll be able to manage the majority of workplace conflicts and help members of your team build key skills. At the same time, you’ll reap personal and professional benefits from exploring new ideas, experimenting, and being open to learning.
In addition, while this method is highly valuable as a managerial intervention with conflicting employees, it also offers communication skills and tools just as useful in the family kitchen.
Read the Sampler
Turn Enemies Into Allies is the first time I've worked with a publisher, Career Press, and it's all pretty exciting. For instance, this week they sent me the "Sampler"--the opening chapters--and told me I can begin to tell the world about the book. The Sampler also makes the book available for pre-sales on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.
You can find the Sampler here and read the Introduction and first chapter.
In a few weeks, I'll receive "first pages"--the final draft. On May 1, Turn Enemies Into Allies will be on book shelves and, if you pre-ordered, mailed to you. And all those who helped me with the title, will receive their own autographed copy directly from me--can't thank you enough!
I look forward to sharing more tidbits as my adventures in the world of publishing continue. And, of course, more solid content on conflict and communication skills!
(Aikido illustrations by Adam Richardson)