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Leadership . By John B. . Introduction to key leadership theories Communicating as a leader Conflict resolution and leadership Effective Leadership Styles Personal Leadership Philosophy . Outline . Interest in leadership increased during the early part of the twentieth century.

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By John B.


  • Introduction to key leadership theories

  • Communicating as a leader

  • Conflict resolution and leadership

  • Effective Leadership Styles

  • Personal Leadership Philosophy


Introduction to key leadership theories

Interest in leadership increased during the early part of the twentieth century.

Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished between leaders and followers, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill levels.

While many different leadership theories have emerged, most can be classified as one of eight major types:

Introduction to key leadership theories

Great man theories

"...Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them".~ Shakespeare

“Men are marked out from the moment of birth to rule or be ruled.” ~Aristotle

Great Man Theories of Leadership (Aristotle,1000 BC; Machiavelli,1518; Carlyle,1840; James,1880)

The Great Man Theory argued that successful leaders possessed traits of personality and character that set them apart from ordinary followers.

Leaders are born with the necessary attributes which set them apart from others and their traits are responsible for their assuming positions of power and authority.

History can be primarily explained by the impact of “great men” or “heroes”: highly influential individuals who, due to their personal charisma, intelligence, and wisdom, or political ability, utilized their power in way that had a decisive historical impact.

Heavily influenced by Galton’s study of the hereditary background of great men, the theory supports the notion that humans cannot develop talents that they do not have. It further suggests that no matter how much effort individuals exert in learning, they will not be successful, in their efforts to lead if they were not born with certain talents that could be nurtured and developed (Watson & Rosser, n.d.). Essays by Carlyle reinforced this belief that a leader was an individual who was born with certain unique qualities that allowed him to capture the imagination of the masses.

Arguments Against the Great Man Theory of Leadership

The counter argument for this theory proposed that the effectiveness of leadership is determined not only by one’s leadership attributes but also by the environmental factors. Based on these perspectives, begin a dialogue about the individual characteristics of leaders empirically found to be significant. What traits, behaviors, and styles are appropriate for what situations? What societal factors may contribute to the “heroic” aspects of leadership?

Great Man Theories

Trait theories

The trait approach to personality is one of the major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are composed broad dispositions. Consider how you would describe the personality of a close friend. Chances are that you would list a number of traits, such as outgoing, kind and even-tempered. A trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic that causes individuals to behave in certain ways.

The trait theory (Stogdill, 1948) synthesized more than 124 trait studies conducted between 1904 and 1947. Traits that differentiate leaders include: intelligence, alertness, insight, responsibility, initiative, persistence, self-confidence, and sociability.

Having a leader with the right set of traits ensures leadership effectiveness; selecting the right leader increases organizational effectiveness.

Stogdill (1974)—synthesized 163 studies conducted between 1948 and 1970. Traits include: drive for responsibility and task completion, vigor and persistence in problem solving, drive to exercise initiative in social situations, self-confidence and sense of personal identity, willingness to accept consequences of decision and action, readiness to absorb interpersonal stress, willingness to tolerate frustration and delay, ability to influence other persons’ behavior, and capacity to structure social interaction systems to the purpose at hand.

Arguments Against the Trait Theories of Leadership

While most agree that people can be described based upon their personality traits, theorists continue to debate the number of basic traits that make up human personality. While trait theory has objectivity that some personality theories lack (such as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory), it also has weaknesses. Some of the most common criticisms of trait theory center on the fact that traits are often poor predictors of behavior. While an individual may score high on assessments of a specific trait, he or she may not always behave that way in every situation. Another problem is that trait theories do not address how or why individual differences in personality develop or emerge.

Trait Theories

Contingency theories

Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that might determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for the situation. According to this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation.

Fiedler (1964, 1967)—a “leader-match” theory in that it tries to match leaders to appropriate situations. Assumes a leader’s effectiveness depends on how well the leader’s style fits the context. Thus, “effective leadership is contingent on matching a leader’s style to the right setting”. Unlike situational leadership, it assumes the leader’s style is relatively fixed and unchanging. Measured by the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale.

Two Leadership Styles:

Task-motivated leaders—concerned primarily with reaching a goal.

Relationship-motivated leaders—concerned with developing close interpersonal relationships.

Situation Favorability:

Leader-member relations—group atmosphere, degree of confidence and loyalty among followers toward the leader, measured from good to poor.

Task structure—degree to which the requirements of a task are clear and spelled out, measured from high to low structure.

Position power—amount of authority a leader has to reward and punish, measured from strong to weak.

Arguments Against the Contingency Theories of Leadership

Fails to explain why theory works, LPC scale does not seem best measure of leadership style, cumbersome in application, fails to explain what to do when a mismatch occurs.

Contingency Theories

Situational theories

  • Situational Approach(Hersey and Blanchard,1969) based on Reddin’s (1967) 3-D management style theory. Focuses on leadership in situations with the basic premise that different situations demand different kinds of leadership. Effective leaders adapt their style to the demands of the situation.

  • Borrows from style approach in assuming that two basic leadership behaviors are directive and supportive.

  • Directive behaviors—assist group members in goal accomplishment.

  • Supportive behaviors—help group members feel comfortable about themselves, their coworkers, and their situation.

  • “For leaders to be effective, it is essential that they diagnose where subordinates are on the developmental continuum and adapt their leadership styles so they directly match their style to the development level of subordinates” (p. 59).

  • Four Styles of Situational Leadership:

  • Directing, Coaching, Supporting, Delegating

  • The appropriate leadership style depends on the follower’s

  • development level, the degree of follower’s competence

  • and commitment necessary to perform a given task.

  • Application—Diagnose, then adapt; requires a high degree

  • of leader flexibility.

  • Strengths—highly marketable, practical, clear prescription,

  • emphasizes leader flexibility, follower variability.

  • Arguments Against the Situational Theories of Leadership

  • Little research support, ambiguous view of follower development, fuzzy definition of commitment, failure to address one-to-one versus group leadership, structure of leadership questionnaires associated with situational leadership.

Situational Theories

Behavioral theories

“Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”~ Vince Lombardi

Behavioral theories of leadership are based upon the belief that great leaders are made, not born. Rooted in behaviorism (Watson, 1913), this leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on mental qualities or internal states. According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation.

Behaviorism, also known as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorists believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shapes our behaviors.

According to behaviorism, behavior can be studied in a systematic and observable manner with no consideration of internal mental states. This school of thought suggests that only observable behaviors should be studied, since internal states such as cognitions, emotions and moods are too subjective.

Major Thinkers in Behaviorism (Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike, Watson, Hull)

1863 - Ivan Sechenov's Reflexes of the Brain was published. Sechenov introduced the concept of inhibitory responses in the central nervous system.

1900 - Ivan Pavlov began studying the salivary response and other reflexes.

1913 - John Watson's Psychology as a Behaviorist Views It was published. The article outlined the many of the main points of behaviorism.

1920 - Watson and assistant Rosalie Rayner conducted the famous "Little Albert" experiment.

1943 - Clark Hull's Principles of Behavior was published.

1948 - B.F. Skinner published Walden II in which he described a utopian society founded upon behaviorist principles.

1959 - Noam Chomsky published his criticism of Skinner's behaviorism, "Review of Verbal Behavior."

1971 - B.F. Skinner published his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity, in which he argued that free will is an illusion.

Arguments Against the Behavioral Theories of Leadership

Many critics argue that behaviorism is a one-dimensional approach to understanding human behavior and that behavioral theories do not account for free will and internal influences such as moods, thoughts and feelings. Behaviorism does not account for other types of learning, especially learning that occurs without the use of reinforcement and punishment. People and animals are able to adapt their behavior when new information is introduced, even if a previous behavior pattern has been established through reinforcement. Outside of psychology, animal trainers, parents, teachers and many others make use of basic behavioral principles to help teach new behaviors and discourage unwanted ones.

Behavioral Theories

Participative theories

Participative leadership theories suggest that the ideal leadership style is one that takes the input of others into account. These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members feel more relevant and committed to the decision-making process. In participative theories, however, the leader retains the right to allow the input of others.

Kurt Lewin classified management styles and cultures into three categories - autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire. He conducted an experiment on a group of children who were guided by leaders, following the three leadership styles. He concluded, at the end of the experiment, that the democratic leadership style is the most effective one as all the group members participated in the final decision-making process.

A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers' whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team.

There are many varieties on this spectrum, including stages where the leader sells the idea to the team. Another variant is for the leader to describe the 'what' of objectives or goals and let the team or individuals decide the 'how' of the process by which the 'how' will be achieved (this is often called 'Management by Objectives').

The level of participation may also depend on the type of decision being made. Decisions on how to implement goals may be highly participative, whilst decisions during subordinate performance evaluations are more likely to be taken by the manager.

Arguments Against the Participative Theories of Leadership

Managers might not be inclined to inform every employee about sensitive business information. Another disadvantage of participative leadership theories is that they don't work on every type of workplace environment. The challenge to participative theory is that when a leader asks for opinions and does not find them suitable, which can lead to reduced motivation and level of commitment.

Participative Theories

Management theories

Management theories, also known as transactional theories (Burns, 1978), focus on the role of supervision, organization and group performance. A reciprocal exchange between leaders and followers. "Quid pro Quo“. Conventional reward and punishment are used to gain compliance from the employees. Transactional leadership involves giving employees something in return for their compliance and acceptance of authority, usually in the form of incentives such as pay raises or an increase in status.

Four Types of Leader Behaviors:

Contingent Reward: Refers to leadership behaviors focused on exchange of resources. That is, leaders provide tangible or intangible support and resources to followers in exchange for their efforts and performance. A “positive-reinforcement” approach – “Let’s focus on reward”.

Management by Exception – Active: Refers to monitoring performance and taking corrective action as necessary. The focus of management by exception is on setting standards. A “hands-on ” approach – “I’m going to make sure performance doesn’t falter.”

Management by Exception – Passive: A less active version of management by exception in which leaders take a passive approach, intervening only when problems become serious. A “wait-and-see” approach – “If performance falters, I’ll get involved…& head’s are gonna role!”

Laissez-faire: Can be thought of as non-leadership or the avoidance of leadership responsibilities. A “who cares?” approach – “I’m not interested in the outcome”.

Notes: Appeals to followers self-interests. Can involve values, but in context of the exchange. Some forms of transactional leadership is are incorporated in transformational leadership.

Arguments Against Management / Transactional Theories

In transactional leadership, rewards and punishments are contingent upon the performance of the followers. The leader views the relationship between managers and subordinates as an exchange - you give me something for something in return. When subordinates perform well, they receive some type of reward. When they perform poorly, they will be punished in some way. Rules, procedures and standards are essential in transactional leadership. Followers are not encouraged to be creative or to find new solutions to problems. Research has found that transactional leadership tends to be most effective in situations where problems are simple and clearly-defined. While transactional leadership can be effective in some situations, it is generally considered an insufficient and may prevent both leaders an followers from achieving their full potential.

Management Theories

Relationship theories

Transformational leadership (Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985; Avolio, 1996) is a type of leadership style that leads to positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.

Four Types of Leadership Behaviors:

Idealized influence - The transformational leader serves as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate this individual and internalize his or her ideals. Charisma, strong role models for followers. High moral standards. (Nelson Mandela)

Inspirational motivation - Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals. Leaders inspire through Inspirational motivation, have high expectations of followers. Inspire to a shared vision. (sales manager)

Intellectual Stimulation - Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn. Stimulates followers to be innovative and creative. Challenges status quo. (promoting a worker because of his problem solving skills).

Individual consideration - Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of each followers unique contributions. The leader listens to individual, creates a supportive climate Coaches and advises. (manager that spends time with people to care for them).

Arguments Against Relationship Theories

Transformational leadership makes use of impression management and therefore may lend itself to amoral self promotion by leaders. These theories are very difficult to be trained on, many of them are considered art forms of application developed with practice requiring a combination of many leadership theories. Followers might be manipulated by leaders and there are chances that they lose more than they gain.

Relationship Theories

Communication and leadership

Communication and leadership

Organizational meaning making sense making

  • Organizations (people within organizations) seek to understand the observed and perceived phenomena of the organization in order to understand the whole or ‘Gestalt’ of the organization

  • This is as much a communication process as psychological or social.

  • People will seek to make sense of the organization if the leader does not do so for them.

  • Organizational Identity (Hatch and Schultz, 2002; Gioia, Schultz, Corley, 2000)

Organizational Meaning Making/Sense Making

  • Answers the question – “who are we?”

  • Must be compatible with the leader’s vision

  • My become part of environmental determinism

  • Affects organizational self-worth and self-efficacy

Informal communication

Informal Communication

The grapevine

A common and expected method of informal communication within organizations

(Michelson & Mouly, 2000; Mishra, 1990) which like the grapevine, spreads in all

directions within an organization. It arises from social interaction, and is as

inconsistent, vibrant, and diverse as the people in the network (Mishra, 2005)

The grapevine helps to foster a sense of belonging in an organization(Davis, 1953,

Mishra, 1990). “ The degree of grapevine activity is a measure of a company's spirit

and vitality.” (Davis, 1973)

Rumors are often about issues, events, processes, etc. while gossip is about

individual people. The most frequently defined characteristics of gossip are: “(a)

it is informal talk, (b) has some degree of veracity, and (c) it is personally focused

(usually on an absent third party)” (Mills, 2010, p.216)

Gossip is idle talk, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.

Workspace gossip occurs when workers indulge in inappropriate topics of

conversation (Grunert, 2010). Gossip is intimate and personal (Mills, 2010)

Leaders have 3 options to regarding the grapevine: 1) ignore it and not participate in it; 2) participate in it only when it’s in their best interest, or 3) engage in it fully on a consistent basis (Mishra, 1990). Leaders cannot control the grapevine but can influence it (Davis, 1953, 1969)

Leaders must harness the power of the grapevine to diffuse rumors (Denning, 2004) accepting and respecting it as a natural part of corporate life, while fostering open channels of communication to compensate for its effects (Davis, 1973).

The Grapevine

Perception of org politics

  • One of the key themes in OPP research is personal "control". That is, to the extent someone feels he or she has control in a work situation, the less likely it will be that he or she will perceive a work situation as political. Another theme is "certainty" in that people who have information about a work situation are less likely to see the situation as political. Conversely, people who feel they have little control over an uncertain situation are more likely to see a work environment as politicized.

  • A third theme is conflict. Politics often is defined as the pursuit of self-interest and such pursuits invariably result in conflict with others--peers, supervisors, and so on. To the extent that someone experiences little conflict in the pursuit of self-interests, then he or she is less likely to see the work setting as political.

  • People who see the work situation as political thus are likely to view the work situation as a situation where the pursuit of self-interest is something like a battle in that who is likely to control significant outcomes of a particular encounter remains ambiguous and uncertain.

Perception of Org. Politics

Impression management theory goffman 1959 holstein and gubrium 2000

  • In the dramaturgical perspective, social interaction is akin to a theatrical performance.

  • Individuals engage in scripted behavior in order to persuade a desired mode of action from those with whom one is interacting

  • IM is the goal-directed attempt to influence others’ perceptions about a person, a group, and/or an organization regarding an object or event by providing self-assessed beneficial information in social interactions. The goal for the aforementioned attempt is to gain an advantageous first impression. The motive for this goal is based on the assumption that the target audience’s impressions about the individuals, groups, or organizations become reality of the target audience. Authors, philosophers, and social science researchers have long interpreted the reality each individual entity “acts” and believes in as a “stage.” In each stage, humans, individually or in groups, and organizations “play” their part(s) on this “world stage” according to William Shakespeare (As You Like It, Scene 2, Act 7)1.

Impression Management Theory (Goffman, 1959; Holstein and Gubrium, 2000)

Team work group dynamics stewart manz sims 1999

  • Definition of team: “collection of individuals who exist within a larger social system such as an organization, who can be identified by themselves and others as a team, who are interdependent, and who perform tasks that affect other individuals and groups” (p.3); shared commitments and goals; produce good and/or services used by others

    • Inputs: Task applications; interdependence; self-leadership; team goals; team composition

    • Processes: Development stages; Communication; Power; Influence; Conflict; Leadership

    • Outputs: Productivity; Satisfaction; Viability; Coordination

  • Benefits of teams: increased productivity, quality, innovation; enhanced employee quality of life; better organizational adaptability & flexibility; reduced cost, turnover, absenteeism, & conflict

  • Team Types: Advice, Production, Project, Action

  • Team Development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, (Adjourning) (Tuckman, 1965)

  • Team Socialization: Anticipation -> Accommodation -> Acceptance

  • Team Power: Reward, Coercive, Referent, Expert, Legitimate (French & Raven, 1959)

  • Leadership Structures:

    • externally managed: external supervisor, external facilitator

    • Self-managed or self- leading: internally elected

  • Types of Tasks (for best output): additive, disjunctive, conjunctive

Team Work & Group DynamicsStewart, Manz & Sims (1999)

Decision making models

  • Primary reference: Beach & Connolly (2005)

  • Rational Model: prescriptive / normative; assumes:

    • one most important goal that all (individually & collectively) agree on it

    • Unlimited info & ability to process it

    • All opportunities & consequences known

    • One best option, which can be discovered through normative analysis

  • Information Model (March & Simon, 1958)

    • Assumes all necessary info can’t be compiled or processed before decision is made

    • Decision made when sufficient option is encountered

    • Options typically start with “what worked before”

  • Structural Model: structural differentiation & incrementalism

    • Reliance more on a process in which each section answers the part of the problem that deals most specifically with them

    • Decisions progress step-by-step: Incrementalism (Lindblom, 1959)

    • Problem: conflicting goals, objectives &/or priorities; inadequate communication; power struggles

    • Tends to result in top-down managerial control & bureaucracy

  • Garbage Can Model (Cohen, March & Olsen, 1972)

    • Premise: “organizations are collections of problems, solutions, participants, and choice opportunities” (p.127)

    • All above elements swirl around in “organized anarchy” semi-randomly

    • Decision-making is linking problems & solutions

    • Assaults rationalistic decision-making models

  • Participation Model: Examines “advantages and disadvantages of member participation in decision-making and the conditions under which participation is warranted” (p. 128)

    • (+) Better decisions and greater satisfaction, confidence and ownership

    • (-) May not actually be better decisions and may decrease or slow productivity

Decision-Making Models

Conflict resolution and leadership

Conflict resolution and leadership

Conflict styles

Thomas and Kilmann's styles arebased on team work (cooperation) and goal sharing (assertiveness/passive)

  • Competitive: People who tend towards a competitive style take a firm stand, and know what they want. They usually operate from a position of power, drawn from things like position, rank, expertise, or persuasive ability. This style can be useful when there is an emergency and a decision needs to be make fast; when the decision is unpopular; or when defending against someone who is trying to exploit the situation selfishly. However it can leave people feeling bruised, unsatisfied and resentful when used in less urgent situations.

  • Collaborative: People tending towards a collaborative style try to meet the needs of all people involved. These people can be highly assertive but unlike the competitor, they cooperate effectively and acknowledge that everyone is important. This style is useful when a you need to bring together a variety of viewpoints to get the best solution; when there have been previous conflicts in the group; or when the situation is too important for a simple trade-off.

Conflict Styles

Conflict styles1

  • Compromising: People who prefer a compromising style try to find a solution that will at least partially satisfy everyone. Everyone is expected to give up something, and the compromiser him- or herself also expects to relinquish something. Compromise is useful when the cost of conflict is higher than the cost of losing ground, when equal strength opponents are at a standstill and when there is a deadline looming.

  • Accommodating: This style indicates a willingness to meet the needs of others at the expense of the person's own needs. The accommodator often knows when to give in to others, but can be persuaded to surrender a position even when it is not warranted. This person is not assertive but is highly cooperative. Accommodation is appropriate when the issues matter more to the other party, when peace is more valuable than winning, or when you want to be in a position to collect on this "favor" you gave. However people may not return favors, and overall this approach is unlikely to give the best outcomes.

  • Avoiding: People tending towards this style seek to evade the conflict entirely. This style is typified by delegating controversial decisions, accepting default decisions, and not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings. It can be appropriate when victory is impossible, when the controversy is trivial, or when someone else is in a better position to solve the problem. However in many situations this is a weak and ineffective approach to take.

Conflict Styles



  • Win-Lose Negotiating – a zero-sum situation that implies limited resources and the negotiation process is to determine who will receive the resources. This is known as distributive negotiating and refers to the process of dividing, or ‘distributing’, scarce resources. In health care is it deciding who will get access to a new drug, or promising technique to improve life expectancy.

  • Win-Win Negotiating – A positive sum approach where each party gains without a corresponding loss for the other party.

    Third-Party Negotiations – Four types;

  • Mediation – is a neutral 3rd party that acts as facilitator through the application of reasoning, suggestion, and persuasion; they facilitate a resolution by affecting how the disputing parties interact; they have no binding authority.

  • Arbitration – the 3rd party has the power (authority) to impose an agreement; they select an outcome that is typically somewhere between the final positions of the disputing parties.

  • Conciliation – the 3rd party is a trusted person between both parties and serves primarily as a communication link; has no formal authority over the outcome as the mediator.

  • Consultation – 3rd party is trained in conflict and conflict-resolution skills attempts to facilitate problems solving by focusing more on the relations between the parties than on the substantive issues; chief role is to improve the negotiating climate so that substantive negotiations can take place at some point in the future.

Ivancevich , J., Konopaske , R., & Matteson , M. (2008). Organizational Behavior and Management. (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Conflict resolution and negotiation

  • Theory of cooperation and competition Deutsch 1949, Johnson 1989 (Deutsch, et al., 2006).

  • The theory has two basic premises; interdependence among goals of the people involved in a given situation and the type of action taken by the people involved interdependence

    Interdependence includes;

  • 1) Positive - goal attainment is positively correlated between two individuals when one sinks the other sinks, when one swims the other swims, they are connected.

  • 2) Negative - goal attainment is negatively correlated between individuals when one swims the other sinks and vice versa. The existence of conflict implies some interdependence.

    Three concepts are vital to understanding the social and psychological processes involved in cooperation and competition (Deutsch, et al., 2006)

  • Autistic hostility- breaking off contact and communication with the other; the result is that the hostility is perpetuated because one has not opportunity to learn that it may be based on misunderstandings or misjudgments or to learn if the other has changed for the better.

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy – negative hostile behavior is directed toward another individual based on a false assumption, the behavior causes the other party to interact in a way that is hostile to you.

    • Folie à Deux - the self-fulfilling prophecies on each side mutually reinforce one another.

  • Unwitting commitments – during the escalating conflict the negative attitudes and perceptions are formed unwittingly based on the rigid positions that are held by the opposing parties.

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

Conflict resolution

  • Winston (2002) notes that when conflict occurs and both parties are unconciled it important for both parties to become reconciled through a process lead by the leader based on agapao love of mutual and moral friendship.

  • In order to resolve conflict you must have the heart and mind of the other party at the forefront; this does not mean you have to give up what you want but you must think about the other person instead of yourself.

  • Conflict occurs when the desires of two people appear to create some form of overlap, contradiction, or frustration. One of the things in our society that we have been taught in conflict resolution is to decide what we want and go get it which is backwards and wrong. The two parties must sit down and talk about what they need through collaboration where both parties are working as a team with focus on both goals to develop a strategy so both parties can get what they want.

  • Conflict occurs at many levels we have intrapersonal conflict where we don’t agree with ourselves, interpersonal which we don’t agree with someone else, intergroup in which people within a group cannot agree, intragroup which is conflict between groups, and conflict with God or not if your are atheist . There is constructive and destructive conflict, in constructive conflict there is a dynamic tension and a scent of creativity that goes where conflict is introduced to have people react and think through problems; destructive is focused more emotionally and focused on the person than the problem with more rigidity. Good conflict resolution comes from not attacking the person but attacking the problem. What is it that both parties can do to help each other?

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution1

  • People react differently to conflict: one choice is inaction through avoiding, yielding simply giving in, contending always disagreeing with another party, fourth is compromising in which both parties lose but both parties get enough walking away feeling happy, the fifth and most ideal is out of problem solving through sitting down with each other and coming up with ways in which to accomplish what the other party wants. It is important to find creative ways to fulfill how the needs of both parties can be met in conflict negotiation.

  • Conflict resolution occurs by spending time to understand the other party, in doing so we must consider the other parties interest but not always this happens. Sometime in negotiation and conflict resolution it becomes “distributive” where the solution is distributed from one party to the other, rather than “integrative” in which the two come together.

  • In some cases we don’t always have to make a deal and have a win-win situation. Sometimes both parties cannot make a deal in their opinions by getting a grasp with what the other party wants and what they can do to help. When this occurs it may be best to let someone else decide through mediation or arbitration.

Conflict Resolution

Effective leadership styles

Effective Leadership Styles

Personal leadership philosophy

Personal Leadership Philosophy

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