A couple of years ago I reported the results of research finding a relationship between effective conflict management skills and likelihood of workplace promotion.
Now the same folks who conducted that study have released a report on the important link between conflict behavior and perceived leadership effectiveness. The Management Development Institute of Eckerd College reached the following key conclusions.
People with effective conflict management behaviors were also those with leadership behaviors deemed effective by supervisors, peers and direct report. For example:
Those whose leadership was associated with effective communication were also those whose approach to conflict tended to include reaching out to others, creating solutions, honestly expressing emotions, and the ability to adopt another’s perspective.
Those identified as having leadership that was "big-picture" and "long-range" were also those most likely to approach conflict in a way that signaled openness to others’ ideas and perspectives.
Those whose leadership approach was associated with an ability to reflect before acting and adapt to changing circumstances were also those whose approaches to conflict tended toward the ability to control emotional expression and be open to others’ ideas and suggestions.
Not surprisingly, those people with a tendency toward destructive conflict behaviors were also those with leadership approaches deemed less effective by their supervisors, peers and direct reports. Such destructive behaviors included approaching conflict with a "win at all costs" manner, demeaning others, and displaying anger.
Though the study’s results are not particularly extraordinary or startling, the research is a welcome reminder that the ability to be and be seen as an effective leader is related to effective conflict management skill and self-management ability.