Amy Gallo: HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict
Amy Gallo is an expert in conflict, communication, and workplace dynamics. She combines the latest management research with practical advice to deliver evidence-based ideas on how to improve relationships and excel at work. She is the author of the Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict*, a how-to guidebook about handling conflict professionally and productively.
In her role as a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, Amy writes frequently about a range of topics with a focus on interpersonal dynamics, communicating ideas, leading and influencing people, and building your career. She is also co-host of Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work podcast, which is in its sixth season.
In this conversation, Amy and I discuss some of the key strategies that have emerged from her research on the most effective ways to prepare for conflict. We explore why a larger strategy is more important than a script, how to plan out your message, and the value of taking the other side’s perspective.
- Be honest with yourself that a conversation may be difficult, but also seek a constructive way to frame it.
- Take your counterpart’s perspective, but don’t assume you know everything they are thinking.
- Plan your message by appealing to a shared goal.
- Focus your efforts on framing the larger strategy and outcome rather than a specific script or phrases.
- Avoid scripting out a conversation, but have clarity on how you will start and the 2-3 points you need to convey.
- When conflict emerges in the organization, leaders are wise to lean into it rather than shutting it down in the moment.
- Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict* by Amy Gallo
- Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work podcast
- Amy Gallo’s website
- How to Manage Abrasive Leaders, with Sharone Bar-David (episode 290)
- The Way Into Difficult Conversations, with Kwame Christian (episode 497)
- The Way Out of Major Conflict, with Amanda Ripley (episode 529)
Activate your free membership for full access to the entire library of interviews since 2011, searchable by topic.