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HBR Guide to Office Politics (HBR Guide Series) by Karen Dillon

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Chapter 13

Managing Conflict Constructively

When we think of conflict, often what comes to mind is war: factions diametrically opposed over a significant issue. But there are many types of conflicts. Not all of them are struggles for power or property or people. Lines are often drawn at work, too, and can sometimes be just as fiery: A colleague erupts in a meeting over a perceived injustice. Or a discussion grows heated and loud. But just because most workplaces are civil and quiet doesn’t mean they’re devoid of conflict.

Consider this story. Robin and Eli worked together on a joint project virtually, from different time zones. Robin spent her mornings drafting the piece of the project she’d be working on that day with Eli. When Eli came online ...

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