Discover Your Conflict Management Style (Book)
Speed B. Leas, Author. Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 1997.
This slim volume presents descriptions of common conflict management styles, practical tips for their application, and a self-assessment tool to help readers discover their own dominant conflict management style(s). The goal of the book is to give people better access to the vocabulary of conflict and insight into how they (and others) behave when conflicts arise.
Author Speed Leas, a long-time Alban Institute senior consultant and well-known expert on congregational conflict, strongly recommends that readers begin with the 45-question self-administered “conflict inventory” included at the back of the book to determine their own conflict management strengths and weaknesses before reading about the various styles.
Leas then clearly and succinctly describes the six most common styles of approaching conflict he has encountered in his many years as a church consultant and educator: persuading, compelling, avoiding/accommodating, collaborating, negotiating, and supporting. In addition to defining these styles, he offers suggestions for how and when to apply them, including examples of situations in which a particular style is strong and situations in which it should be avoided. Leas also provides tips as to how readers can improve their effectiveness within both their dominant and non-dominant conflict management styles.
This book would be helpful for preparing seminary students for the inevitable conflicts they will encounter in the church settings in which they later work. It would also be a valuable tool for any clergy or lay leader im looking for a good introduction to conflict management. Ideally, the text should be used prior to the onset of conflict rather than in the midst of it.
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