Conflict Competent Leadership

Conflict Competent Leadership
 

Created by Mark Batson-Baril, 2019

Develop skills to become conflict competent leader

  • Build trust and trustworthiness
  • Know Yourself and Help Others Know Themselves

Reflection Questions

Conflict Competency & Self-Assessment

Enhancing Conflict Competence for Effective Leadership

Conflict competent leadership begins with trust. Making matters even more complex for leaders, the existence of trust, in turn, relies heavily on conflict competency. 

Which skills should be prioritized depends on the situation. When proactively growing and deploying key leadership skills where disputes and unresolved conflicts do not exist, trust building is prioritized, followed by developing the organization’s conflict literacy, conflict management, and building conflict resilience.In situations where disputes and conflict are unmanaged and unresolved, resolving the dispute(s) must take priority. Trust and conflict competency are deeply intertwined. In order to be the best leaders we can be, we must understand both the distinctions and the overlaps.

Next Steps

Build Trust

  • Explore one the trust and trustworthiness models described in this section by reading and practicing and debriefing with people you trust. Combine this new understanding with your own style and then practice boosting or enhancing trust levels with the people you interact with.

Build Self-Awareness

Build Skills

Tools & Tips

Trust Building

Trust is the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party (Mayer 1995).Read More

 

 

Both trust and distrust involve movements toward certainty: trust concerning expectations of things hoped for and distrust concerning expectations of things feared (Lewicki, McAllister, and Bies 1998).

Today, the relevance of trust is no longer questioned. It is commonly understood that trust is the foundation of effective relationships leading to business results. The bottom line: we do not perform well without trust.

– Reina, Reina and Hudnut: Center for Creative Leadership Research Report

So, how do you build trust in your leadership? Understanding the key elements of trust and then working to foster and demonstrate them is an important first step, followed by helping others to understand and act upon the same elements. Below are some resources for understanding this concept further.

Both trust and distrust involve movements toward certainty: trust concerning expectations of things hoped for and distrust concerning expectations of things feared (Lewicki, McAllister, and Bies 1998).

“Today, the relevance of trust is no longer questioned. It is commonly understood that trust is the foundation of effective relationships leading to business results. The bottom line: teams do not perform well without trust.”

-Reina, Reina and Hudnut: Center for Creative Leadership Research Report.

So, how do you build trust in your leadership? Understanding the key elements of trust and then working to foster and demonstrate them is an important first step, followed by helping others to understand and act upon the same elements. Below are some resources for understanding this concept further.

 

These tools are useful for developing awareness about the dynamics of trust, a key aspect of conflict competent leadership.

The Trust Equation is a measure of a person’s trustworthiness. The Trust Formula is a measure of people’s propensity to trust others. Use these ideas to develop your own view of leadership and trust building.

The Trust Formula

The Trust Formula (from Resologics) is a measure of the level of trust one might have in another person. The relevant factors are the individual’s propensity to trust, their history and various trust factors all in relationship to the level of risk in a given situation.

Trust Formula: Propensity to trust + trust factors + history) divded by the level of risk equals the Level of Trust Source: Resologics (www.resologics.com/)

The Trust Equation

The Trust Equation (from Trusted Advisor Associates)uses four objective variables to measure trustworthiness. These four variables are best described as: Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy and Self-Orientation. These variables combine into the following equation:

(Source: Trusted Advisor Associates)

Conflict Competent Leadership & Self-Awareness

Know Yourself and Help Others Know Themselves

Conflict competencies are a critical element of the social/political organizations team skills and individual skills. Although one can study and practice many elements to become aware and “good” at conflict as a leader, there are four core elements of conflict competency:

  • Have personal access to multiple conflict modes.
  • Understand what triggers us and why.
  • Understand how to have a difficult conversation.
  • Know how to lead a basic mediation process.

Once leaders have learned, practiced, and mastered these skills, helping team members, stakeholders, and others involved in the movement also learn them will demonstrate the leadership’s support for building conflict competencies in the entire system.

Self-Awareness of Conflict Modes

For leaders, using a variety of appropriate conflict modes/styles is a key conflict competency. Although there are many ways to learn this competency, using a Conflict Style Inventory tool can be a solid starting point. Two well-known tools are: The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and the Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory.

Leading social/political movements and communities means working with a humans and supporting their complex individual and collective needs. Passionate, creative people with deep convictions behave with passion, creativity, and conviction when they experience conflict. In other words, the same qualities which make them valuable staff, advocates, and volunteers can lead to equally charged conflicts. As leaders we must prepare both ourselves and the people we work with to be ready and competent around trust and conflict.

Thomas-Killman Conflict Style

The instrument helps people understand how using different conflict management styles affects interpersonal and group dynamics, empowering them to choose the best approach for any situation. Get more information here.

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Modes: Avoiding, Competing, Accomodating, Compromising and Collaborating

The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory

The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory identifies five conflict styles and organizes them on a graph to indicate differing emphases and priorities of each style.

Intro to Conflict Styles from Riverhouse ePress

Resources

On Trust

Speed of Trust (Franklin Covey)
The Trust Equation (Trusted Advisor Associates)
The Trust Formula (Resologics)

Conflict Styles/Modes

Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument
The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory

Conflict Triggers

“What are your conflict hooks?” Tammy Lenski

Difficult Conversations

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg (see also: “Basics of Nonviolent Communication”
Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, BrucePatton and Sheila Heen
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Paterson

Need help as leaders learnng more about conflict?

Contact Us

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