Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Role Of Conflict In The Establishment Of Leader/Follower Relationships

Conflict is an unavoidable, yet necessary "evil" in establishing leader/follower relationships. This inevitable interaction is both healthy and vital in order to achieve an effective work environment. "If successfully managed, conflict can produce high quality, creative solutions that lead to innovation and progress" (Wren, 1995, p. 435). This rationale can be applied to both the corporate world and our educational system. In addition, "the resolution of disputes is a major factor driving incremental change in an organization [or school district] or in a [leader/follower] relationship" (Wren, 1995, p. 437). Conflict forces leaders and their constituents to work together in partnership for the betterment of the company/school. The top-down, power approach (i.e., "I am the boss, and what I say goes") does not foster the healthy working atmosphere necessary for an institution's continued success. Followers would become unhappy in their work and suspicious of the leader's intentions. Effective leaders need the support of followers, while being open to their constructive criticism. Through conflict and resolution, followers are a more integral part of the workplace, leaders entertain a wider range of options to a situation, and the organization benefits from the collaboration.


References

Wren, J.T. (1995). The leader's companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York, NY: Free Press.

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