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.

Key Points


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.


Resources Mentioned


Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict* by Amy Gallo

Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work podcast

Amy Gallo’s website


Related Episodes


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)


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