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Teach Staff How to Resolve Conflict: Book Review Have a Nice Conflict

February 8th, 2012 · No Comments · Books, Staff Training

For over ten years I have been using the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) in my supervisor training to help my leadership team learn more about themselves and how we work together as a team. The SDI, based on the Relationship Awareness Theory, gives individuals information about the way they relate to people both when things are going well and when the person experiences conflict. I like this rating scale above all others because it looks at conflict and teaching a person their own unique emotional path when they experience conflict as well as teaching that entering the conflict process is a choice. It is very empowering. It you are into theories, you can watch a quick video about the Relationship Awareness Theory.

This is Conflict Prevention Week and I would like to highlight the book Have a Nice Conflict which is a book based on conflict and the Relationship Awareness Theory. The book is written in story form and is very accessible to the average reader.

Written in the form of a novel, Have a Nice Conflict follows one man’s fight to save his relationships and rescue his sinking career. Sales manager John Doyle would consider his career a success—he’s his company’s top salesman, and his take-charge attitude gets the job done. But when he is passed over for promotion—again—after losing two employees, who cite his abrasive style as their reason for leaving, John is forced to reassess how he approaches his relationships. With the help of Mac, an expert in the art of Relationship Awareness Theory, John learns the three stages of conflict, and how he reacts in each. Once he recognizes his own values and conflict trigger points, as well those of other people, John becomes able to better navigate terse situations, express his points in a way that resonates for other people, and even prevent conflict altogether.

Camp is such a fast-paced work place and I find relationship development is in hyper-speed compared to more traditional work settings. We bring staff to camp and quickly expect them to work as a team, under heat, rain, sleep-deprived, and with loud children. All in about 10-12 weeks. In resident camps staff even live together. Having more intrapersonal and self-assessment skills helps an individual manage these relationships.  This book can bring you some insight into conflict and how to help your staff navigate the conflict waters more effectively.

In full disclosure, as a person who is hired to speak to organizations and walk teams through the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), I have a pre-existing relationship with the company and Tim Scudder, one of the authors of the book. I was sent a complimentary review copy of the book. I have remained a SDI trainer because I think this is the absolute best solution out there for work teams.

Have a Nice Conflict can be found at all major bookstores and online booksellers with special offers and events available February 6 – 12, 2012 as part of Personal Strengths’ Conflict Prevention Week. Visit for more details.

“Conflict is normal. A lot of people want to avoid conflict, but we say it’s possible to prevent it – to actually stop it from happening,” said coauthor Tim Scudder, president of Personal Strengths Publishing, a global training and personal development company.

So what’s behind those annoying behaviors? Take a look at these tips Tim suggests when dealing with conflict:

People choose the way they interact with others based on what best enhances their own feelings of selfworth.
So when you find your blood pressure rising in response to another person’s incessant (fill in the blank), consider the following…

  • What is the intent behind what appears to you as a weakness? Chances are people aren’t trying to annoy you. People are almost always trying to do good and feel like they’re contributing. Relationship Awareness Theory states that weaknesses are nothing more than positive strengths taken to extreme or misused.
  • What strength are they overdoing? Try to look for the strength behind the annoying behavior. What if they dialed it down a little? If you feel a person is “smothering” you with attention, it’s likely their intention is just to be “helpful.”
  • Try to understand them better. Discovering a person’s strengths may help you discover what they value. This kind of understanding can improve your relationship by helping you better interpret their motivation.
  • Prevent conflict in yourself by avoiding misperceptions. When you take the time to understand a person’s values and how they attain self-worth, you are less likely to find yourself in conflict over their behaviors.

For a few more nuggets from the book Have a Nice Conflict check out The Five Keys to Having a Nice Conflict.

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