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Taking the Leap

Taking the Leap

a little gem with unexpected relevance Sometimes you stumble upon a little gem. This little book came as an unexptected present. I read this book by the American buddhist Pema Chödrön a while ago. To my surprise I discovered that it fits with my vision on the personal...

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Why mediation is often not enough

Why mediation is often not enough

The limitations of mediation: some hindering factors This first blog is about an important issue I have been struggling with for a while: How to help organizations with conflict, when mediation is not/no longer possible? Some difficult and disappointing...

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Leading when it is difficult

The potential in conflicts


What do you do when you are confronted with lingering tensions or open conflicts in your organization?

This book is for leaders who wish to understand what is going on when collaborative relationships are tense and conflicts contaminate the atmosphere. Do you sometimes wonder why your team does not succeed in working together in a constructive way? Do you expect your employees to discuss their disagreement, but do you have the impression that your team behaves like a Kindergarten? Do you conclude that all your efforts to resolve a conflict situation get you nowhere?

Leading when it is difficult offers you a coherent framework to recognize the complexity of conflict situations. Understand why conflicts are so peristent and threaten to drag everybody along. Discover how groups behave when tension rises. Get a perspective on the wide range of group conflicts: the way groups deal with mild tensions, dysfunctional group behaviours, destructive dynamics, and escalated conflict that may turn collaboration into a battle field.

The insights in the book support you to engage in courageous conversations with your team, to restore connection and to become more skilled in conflict resolution. You get a solid basis to enrich your (self) insight and to approach conflicts with more awareness. Gradually, you will notice that conflicts have a big potential for change. Constructive conflicts can lead to connection, rather than destruction.

(this book was publisued in June 2020; for the time being only in Dutch!)

Mediation for leaders 

Use the potential of conflicts 

Leaders are often confronted with different kinds of conflict in their team or organization. Those conflicts can be a source of stress, but can also be a starting point to address differences, restore relationships and make new agreements for future collaboration. 

Mediation is increasingly recognized as a powerfull intervention in conflicts. Legal procedures or formal authorities who decide are no longer necessary. 

This pocket is specifically for leaders who want to take up a facilitative role, based on the insights of medation, and who wish to prepare in a profound way. The book provides a framework to help you to have a constructive impact on conflict resolution in your environment. 

(this book was first published in 2008; revised edition in 2016 – so far only available in Dutch!)

What others say about this book

This new edition is a must-read for every leader who wishes to resolve conflicts on the work floor in a constructive way.

In a structured, coherent way the author leads you through the interesting landscape of conflict resolution. You discover how mediation can play a cricial role. 

In addition, the authors discusses conflict in the wider frame of group development and group dynamics. She provides specific examples based on real-life situations, thus making the theroy comprehensible. 

Concepts like social loafing, collusion or the Abilene paradox are discussed and clarify the complexity of interactions in a conflict. 

Working with conflict is like walking on this ice, but this pocket that addresses both theory and practice, is a guide to use the potential of conflicts as an opportunity for development and growth. 

Praise for the author who has again, in this revised edition, translated her rich expertise in this field into a practical guide for every leader

Chris De Valck, PhD

Training, Coaching & Consultancy, Worklifebalance

This books helps leaders to work with conflict in a constructive way. It offers a clear insight in how conflict can be a leverage for developmetn, without avoiding the pitfalls.

If you, as a leader, want to intervene as a mediatior in your organization, there are a number of personal and situational conditions, such as adopt a non-judgemental attitude and not be personally  involved in the conflict. It does require some courage: it is a soft way of addressing conflict, but a very direct one (p. 105).

Silvia’s book offers you the seriousness of a handbook, and the practicality of a ‘hands-on’ book. In short: a book to keep on your desk! 

Veerle Meurs

Coach, Brioworks

A book with this title (the subtitle was most appealing to me!) interests me in my role as leader. As I personally have a preference for ‘clarity’ (or read: the opposite of conflict avoidance) I like to read books like this. Why is it a must-have for me?

In the first place it’s an easy to read and accessible book. Secondly, it has a clear structure. And finally – this is my main reason – it is a book with CONTENT!

I never really knew what mediation was. Well, it is clearly explained. The different phases of a medation, the stages of a conflict and the necessary interventions depending on the type of conflict.

I am happy with the clear message: conflicts are very interesting. A cold conflict is not ok, a warm conflict is an opportunity.. (message: read the book if you want to know the difference between a warm and a colf conflict, that was new to me). 

I am also very pleased with the emphasis on the (potential) role of leaders, both in the origin as in the solution of conflicts. Or: how a leader can take up the role of mediator. 

It is a ‘go-back-to’ book: there are questions you can use, tools for experimentation… a real handbook: read it and continue to read it… 

Ilse Van Wijnendaele

Director general , vzw De Hulster

Team leadership: a craft 

A guide for collaboration with the differences 

How to understand what happens in groups, more specifically in the undercurrent? How to deal with the tensions of difference? How to make optimal use of the potential in your team? How to stimulate and facilitate team development? 

In this book you discover different perspectives to look at a group. You gain insight in familiar team dynamics, the emotional life of a group and collective protective strategies under stress and tension. We also address the personal development of the leader as a basic condition for team development. 

The philosophy of this is: team leadership is a ‘craft’. The ingredients are: a profound knowledge of the craft, a toolbox with group methods and interventions, and finally personal mastery. 

(this book was first published in 2016, 3rd revised edition in 2019 – so far only available in Dutch)

What others say about this book

Fortunately a book about working in a group.

Today we speak about ‘teams’. The individual and personal growth have receive a lot of attention lately. Now it’s time to focus on ‘working-together-in-a-group’, with special attention for the difference.

Creating space for differences. Yes, that will be the craft for tomorrow, in order to further develop our diverse and complex society.

Prof. Em. René Bouwen

KU Leuven

A great overview of all frameworks and methods around teams. 

This could, according to me, be a handbook for higher education. Elaborated in a super thorough way. 

The strength of Silvia’s appraoch is her attention for the undercurrent. The challenge is to help teams address issues by using the powerful question: ‘what’s really alive in the team’? 

Rudy Vandamme, PhD

Developmental coach & activist trainer, HRD Academy - Coaching & co

Silvia Prins has written a work of great class

She offers knowledge about team work, group dynamics and team development, talks about the need for personal mastery of the team coach and in addition, offers methods and interventions.  

The tone of the book is a solid presentation of theories with lots of examples. This results in a dynamic story (…). Inconspicuously, Prins weaves an enormous diversity of sources through the texts and thus offers her readers many useful insights that contribute to a nuanced perspective on the group/a team with all the ‘tricks’ and mechanisms that characterize group processes. (…)

Prins has the gift of the word and has written a readable and useful handbook

Ellen Kuners of Koenders

Organisational & Relational Systemic Coach, Review in: Tijdschrift voor Coaching


Here you find a selection of my publications. I have only included the English articles. Are you interested? Please let me know and will send the article of choice to you.


Prins, S., C. Van Den houwe, A. Celis & S. Deseyn (2019) A Compass for the  Gestalt Practitioner in Organizations (with IVC)

Prins, S. (2010). From Competition to Collaboration: Dynamics of Direction Setting in Multiparty Collaboration. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 46 (3), 281-312.

Prins, S. (2006). The psychodynamic perspective in organizational research: making sense of the dynamics and emotional challenges of collaborative work. Special section: ‘Beyond Positivism and Statistics: Neglected Approaches to Understanding the Experience of Work’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 79, 335-355.

Prins, S., M. Craps & E. Van Rossen (2005). Managing ‘psychological’ boundaries in a collaborative effort: the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in an integrated study of a river valley. In: Gössling, T., R.J.G. Jansen & L.A.G. Oerlemans (Red.) Coalitions and Collisions. Nijmegen: Wolf Publishers, pp. 255-264.