Molding Consensus – Leading Across Differences
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
This past Monday, we celebrated one of our country’s greatest leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As one of many enduring gifts, Dr. King showed us the necessity for and effectiveness of direct recognition and action when faced with social conflict. This type of conflict can shed light on overarching structural issues, and incite positive change. Decisions may be coming from a perspective that seeks to retain power and control, regardless of the detriment that may be to an entire system (in the case of civil rights, certainly, but also on a smaller scale within a group or organization).
While we don’t all manage conflict on such a grand scale, we do experience the challenge of working with others whose goals do not match ours on a daily basis. Diversity makes for a well-balanced, strong team. But with a wide range of perspectives comes conflict. And conflicts rooted in social identity differences can be emotionally charged and difficult to understand.
It’s hardest to understand diversity conflict when we are personally involved. It isn’t always an easy or instinctual thing to do, but we need to look at how our own social identity shapes our goals, preferences, and reactions.
Self-awareness is the first step toward healthy and efficient diversity-based conflict management – awareness that we have socially-based perceptions and goals. And so does everyone else. Once that’s established, we can identify what, exactly, is conflicting and how we can work together towards the best result. How do each party’s goals relate to organizational goals, and how can we create strong, common goals to work towards in the future?
Leading Across Differences is a self-assessment and training program that allows leaders at any level the opportunity to improve their conflict management skills. It specifically addresses the challenges of leading a diverse team – what to expect, and how to manage conflict. Promote diversity and leadership and help your diverse team work together for a better future for everyone. Get started today!