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Leadership Involves Dispute Resolution

- Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power. - Seth Berkley

- True Leaders practice the 3 R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for actions.

-What you do has far greater impact than what you say. - Stephen Covey.

Excellent leadership includes dispute resolution. An efficient leader does not avoid conflict but instead manages conflict for the inception. They have a toolbox of dispute resolution options. They analyze each dispute to determine which option might “fit” and resolve that situation.

This blog entry is devoted to the topic of Leadership using an interview of Greg Pishko by Larry Ray.

About Greg Pishko:

Based in Washington, D.C.; Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Passion for advancing human health and well-being.

Recent affiliate of Senatus ADR which delivers mediation, arbitration and negotiation services. (Larry Ray is Director of Training for Senatus.)

Larry: Greg, thanks for participating in this blog entry conversation about leadership and dispute resolution.

Greg: Thank you for inviting me. It was great to be a student of yours. I’m delighted to be talking about leadership with you.

L: So my blog is known as a dispute resolution blog and we are here discussing leadership. Some might question the nexus. Based on my experience, I tend to think most leaders spend up to 50% of their time resolving disputes and negotiating. What are your thoughts?

G: If we don’t get too formal about the definitions, it could be even higher than 50%. Dispute resolution could be anytime a leader is working on getting past a disagreement. Negotiation could be any time a leader is trying to get a “yes” from someone.

In order to be a leader, one needs followers. To maintain those followers, the leader is constantly working on getting their followers to buy into a vision—saying “yes” to the vision. En route to achieving that vision there will be disagreements to resolve along the way. I might have just convinced myself that a leader may spend close to 100% of their time resolving disputes and negotiating.

L: Some, say leaders are born, not learned. What are your views?

G: I subscribe to Simon Sinek’s (author of Start with Why) view that anyone can be a leader. Simon often speaks about leadership being a choice. Someone has to say, “I want to and commit to be a leader.” That someone can make that commitment at any level in an organization. They don’t have to be a supervisor. The commitment just requires a willingness to take care of the people around them. In doing so, they take on extra risk for the people they care for. Not everyone is willing to do this, but everyone has the capacity to.

L: Many people believe that leaders are extroverts but research seems to say that many are actually introverts. Introverts are known for their listening skills and empathy. What has been your experience? How would you classify yourself?

G: I lean extrovert. However, I realize that introverts and extroverts both bring unique talents to the table. I find introverts to be the types of people that "really" think before they speak. I appreciate that.

L: You have been a part of a Leadership Program. What do you think Senior Management is typically looking for in leaders?

G: I’ve talked with a lot of friends who have gone through leadership programs. Senior leaders in best organizations are looking for people who they can trust will take care of the flock. When you’re a leader, you’re a shepherd.

L: To be a leader, one must have followers. What are followers looking for in a leader?

G: The people following the leader will have individual needs. One thing common between all followers is they are looking for a leader to have their back. The leader has to take care of the flock.

L:​ What is the image of an effective leader?

G: A leader’s image should be their authentic self. The leader should have a purpose and vision. Followers should clearly see that.

L:​ Many people shun office politics. How does a leader manage office politics?

G: You’re right. Office politics is something that many hide from. The phrase “office politics” has a negative connotation because there are some bad players. To be a leader is to engage however. The best way to manage the politics is to not be one of the bad players. Simply having a collaborative mindset will help avoid becoming a bad player.

L:​ How do leaders motivate people?

G: I think you have to know your people to motivate them. Everyone is motivated in a different way. One way to learn is to ask. Once you know what drives your people, serve them.

L:​ Leaders need to look in the future. They need to be almost prescient? Has that been your experience?

G: When you lead, you see a future and bring others on the journey there. I tend to think the most memorable leaders create the future through their leadership. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a great example of that. In hindsight it appears to be prescience. I believe he along with his followers created the future he dreamed about.


See Recommended Books under “Blogs” drop down menu. Clicking on any book will lead one to the discounted Amazon site.

Leadership Seminar, American Management Association (AMA) taught by Larry Ray, 27 years.

Preparing for Leadership-What It Takes to Take the Lead, Donna J. Dennis, based on the best-selling seminar by the AMA.

Roy J. Lewicki is the author of 'Essentials of Negotiation', published 2015 under ISBN 9780077862466 and ISBN 0077862465. Publisher: McGraw Hill Higher Education

The Conflict Resolution Training Program, Leader’s Manual, ISBN: 0-7879-6077-2. Prudence Bowman Kestner and Larry Ray

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