Mary Parker Follett was born in 1868 and died in 1933. It's hard to imagine that a woman living in that era could write so profoundly:
"What people often mean by getting rid of conflict is getting rid of diversity."
Leaders often claim to want diverse opinions and counterpoint but reward the heads that bobble in constant agreement. Effective leaders will stir dissent even when the room seems to rally in agreement.
If everyone in the meeting remains in agreement, all the time, about every issue, it is likely that intimidation, fear and redundancy are in attendance as well. Diverse thinking occurs in a healthy room in which the naysayers are encouraged and applauded. Disagreement does not always indicate a contrarian spirit.
Follett defined conflict as "difference," not a negative occurrence to be avoided, but simply the interacting of different desires.
She called for "integrated solutions" as a replacement to compromise. I've always felt icky when leaving a boardroom that served platefuls of compromise. The organization rarely wins with a spirit of compromise in the culture. "Go along and get along" is good for kindergarten behavior but is rarely useful in leadership.
Follett offered three approaches to conflict resolution:
1. Domination that would assure that one side "wins" over the other
2. Compromise in which both sides give up something
3. Integration—a new and better solution is developed and the original interests of both sides are retained
Integration creates an atmosphere of "winning" on both sides of the table and the organization is the biggest winner.
"We should never allow ourselves to be bullied by an 'either-or' solution," Follett said.
It is likely that the best solution is a new solution fueled by effective integration.
When the colors red and blue are integrated, the result is a purple solution. Neither red nor blue is compromised. The integration yields a brilliant new color.
"Now I ask you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak in agreement and that there be no divisions among you. But be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10).
To read Part 1 of the Mary Parker Follett series, click here.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.