Worth a Read: Confidence in Conflict

Have you ever intentionally avoided a conversation because it was too difficult? Perhaps you knew it could be too emotionally charged? If so, Kwame Christian’s book, Finding Confidence in Conflict: How to Negotiate Anything and Live Your Best Life, may be worth your time.

After all, difficult conversations are an unavoidable part of leadership. So let’s stop avoiding it.  

Many people share reluctance to carry on uncomfortable conversations. Instead, we have a tendency to fight, flight or freeze — rather than face the difficult talk. The author uses a simple, single technique called “compassionate curiosity” to support you through those hostile, awkward, unproductive, difficult conversations.

This framework walks you through a three-step process, where you will interrupt the emotions between and the other person, cause curiosity about the conversation with compassion and ultimately solve the issues together. 

Christian utilizes the latest research to reveal steps for resolving and managing complex conversations using personable examples, which are relatable and draw you further into these crucial leadership lessons.

The big takeaway from this book is that using compassionate curiosity is not a natural phenomenon. We have a tendency to interpret a situation, even a conversation, with emotion before rationality. And when that emotion is negative, things don’t often go well.

Christian suggests that we need to slow down and take our time amid the chaos and shift our focus from the automatic fear response to thoughtfulness in order to get a more favorable outcome. Perhaps this is even something you can try at the next (inevitable) uncomfortable situation necessitating a conversation pops up in your life.

Each time we use Christian’s approach, we will find more and more confidence in difficult conversations. We don’t need to avoid them anymore.

This is a worthwhile “lead read.” Take my word for it.


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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.