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Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader: How You and Your Organization Can Manage Conflict Effectively 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787984700
ISBN-10: 0787984701
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Editorial Reviews


"… an excellent read for managers, executive, and other type of leaders who want to develop their skills and competencies." (Dispute Resolution Journal, Jul-Sep 2007)


"If workplace conflict is inevitable, becoming a conflict competent leader is one of the most valuable skill sets a leader can possess. Runde and Flanagan clearly lay out how destructive conflict can be prevented while fostering the kind of constructive debate and creative solutions which businesses need to thrive."
—Joanne McCree, former vice president, human resources, IBM

"A great book! It is full of actionable insights to turn your organization's conflict from a cost to an asset."
—Daniel Shapiro, Harvard Negotiation Project; coauthor, Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate

"Their ability to assimilate and describe what managers actually face in dealing with conflict is a key factor in making this book unique from others. No self-help manual on handling conflict that I've ever seen addresses the basics like this book."
—Kenneth Bradt, past president, Society of Consulting Psychologists

"Competency in managing conflict is perhaps the most under-recognized component of successful leadership. This book, once read, should remain on the shelf of every leader for handy reference."
—Dan Dana, Mediation Training Institute International; author, Managing Differences

"Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan know conflict! Better yet, they are able to guide the reader through an understanding of its dynamics from onset to resolution, thereby helping all of us to become more 'active constructive' leaders."
—Michael Katos, The Katos Group LLC

"Our personal professional development is a constant pursuit in our quest to be the best we can possibly be. Dealing with conflict is a given in any leadership position. Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader serves as a great resource for any leader to better understand and manage conflict."
—MaryEllen Elia, superintendent, School District of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787984701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787984700
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My typical observations of conflict in the workplace when working with executive and managerial teams are that leaders typically ignore or avoid the conflict and hope it goes away, or they resort to intimidation, sabotage, and winning at all costs. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that authors Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan of the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida offer a better way to leverage the value of constructive conflict and minimize the effects of destructive conflict dynamics.

In less than 200 pages, Runde and Flanagan easily and concisely share:

* Definitions of leadership, conflict, and conflict competency

* The process for conflict dynamics

* Importance of leader self-awareness and self-control

* Methods for preventing destructive responses to conflict

* Suggestions for enhancing constructive responses, and

* Building conflict competent organizations

I particularly enjoyed the Dynamic Conflict Model in Chapter 2 which provides an easy method for understanding the triggers (hot buttons) that incite conflict, the active and passive constructive or destructive responses we choose in response, whether conflict remains task or person-focused, and the resulting de-escalation or escalation of conflict respectively.

The main weakness in this book is the brevity of Chapter 6 on building conflict-competent organizations. Additional strategies and work-related case studies in multiple industries would be helpful to apply the theory to personal experience, particularly if the reader is a new supervisor or from a particular industry where some destructive responses may be the organizational norm (i.e.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book, I asked myself what the take-away was. Essentially, it is that everyone has at least one hot-button. It is natural and customary to have emotional reactions. The authors refer to a "refractory period when the emotion holds sway over our rationality." However, just because we're hardwired this way doesn't mean that the affects are acceptable or desirable. Outbursts and, what the authors refer to as cycles of retaliation, erode relationships and can infect whole organizations.

The authors courageously confront the reader with the notion that if people are "... really honest with themselves, during conflict many resort to tactics and behaviors designed to cause discomfort, delay progress, disrupt communication, or even inflict pain." However, there are alternatives: one can take a breath, find a new sense of control and choose a better way to communicate.

Essentially, they point to what it means to be emotionally mature. But that's the rub. Not every organization will be so lucky to be comprised of consistently mature, healthy adults, their professional skills notwithstanding. Thus, it is every leader's responsibility to recognize that managing conflict is as important as managing the more quantifiable aspects of business.

How to do this is not especially complex nor novel. As a matter of fact, they're the same skills as good parenting skills. For leaders who may have not conceptualized their roles to include this or, more honestly, would rather ignore conflict in the hopes that it will just go away, the book gives some valuable tips. It shows how to spot conflict and identify the ways in which it can show up -- not every conflict is a loud brawl and the insidious quiet ones can be just as if not more damaging. More importantly, it gives instruction on how leaders can and should deal with it constructively.
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Format: Hardcover
It's a sad reality that conflict is displaying exponential growth around the globe. The authors have compiled an excellent resource that is grounded on significant experience. The work and experience shared in this text allow leaders to develop a constructive response to conflict, as opposed to avoiding conflict or escalating conflict.

The combination of stories, technique, and empirical data are packaged in such a way that the information is highly accessible. It has the credibility and depth one would expect from the Center for Creative Leadership. The resource list and bibliography also afford useful entree to more specialized tools to heighten the awareness and efficacy of leaders whatever their context.

Bill Lindberg


The Ash Grove Group

Santa Barbara, CA
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book at work. The book brings together a number of ideas that could be of value to everyone that works with others. As a professional leader I did find the tone of the book to be a bit condescending. Perhaps it is because the explanations and descriptions seem obvious to me.
In the beginning of the book it states, "The most effective leaders are known for being models of exemplary behavior." I am not sure what exemplary behavior actually means. In the exact same paragraph it goes on to state, "Self awareness is critical." Exemplary behavior and self awareness are not indistinguishable, yet they are combined in a single idea in a paragraph with no further adequate explanation. This is typical throughout the book.
There are a lot of descriptive ideas and thoughts about leadership presented in this book however I see no valid prescriptive methods to use these ideas.
Parts of the book equate management and leadership, I do not subscribe to this thought. Management is about resources, leadership is about people. To me a manager is one who does things right, follows the procedures and processes. A leader is one who does the right thing, regardless of the procedures and policies. You cannot effectively manage conflict among people if you view them only as resources. You can lead people through conflict if you focus on them as individuals. This concept is not brought out in the book.
I find that the ideas presented in another book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie are much more effective.
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