Unresolved Conflict at the Top Produces Chaos in the Middle and the Bottom
A guest post by Idea Champions' newest leadership development consultant, Dr. Barry Gruenberg.
When those in senior leadership positions avoid conflict among themselves, the unresolved conflict ripples throughout the organization and paralyzes action at every level. Key issues go unresolved and the tension at the top pervades the organization. Followers of each of the powerful protagonists must constantly demonstrate their loyalty to their sponsors in their words and deeds; they must scrutinize all that they do to ensure that they are not seen as violating the party line.
Lower level employees are often enlisted to participate in task forces or committees to deal with the various by-products of the unresolved issues.
These efforts are virtually guaranteed to fail since any recommendations for resolution will compromise at least one of the contending senior managers who will usually use their power to veto the idea, leaving the task force frustrated and progress hindered.
This is ironic because the members of the task force will have attempted to remain loyal to their constituency throughout the proceedings and will usually feel that they have salvaged the most important interests of their group in the negotiation process. But the senior managers, who have delegated their conflict, will generally take an all or nothing posture on the outcome.
The only true resolution to this phenomenon requires the direct participation of the protagonists -- their committed effort to resolve their differences before the symptoms of their misalignment irrevocably muddies the organizational waters.
Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at June 20, 2016 09:07 AM
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