Monday, April 11, 2011

Conflict Among Leaders

I wrote this post quite some time ago. Ironic that it may post automatically during a government shutdown where executives leaders cannot agree on a budget."

My time in fire has allowed me the opportunity to work for one specific agency yet be involved with interagency cooperation. Leadership in an interagency environment is difficult at best, and I've seen quite a few clashes in leadership--whether between a leader and subordinate or among organizational leaders trying to maintain loyal to their agency while trying to meet the goals of the combined organization.

I found a great article on leadership clashes on Knowledge @ Wharton called "Clash of the Titans: When Top Executives Don't Get Along with the Team." Causes for such clashes may include personality differences and conflicting visions or agendas. The authors of the article provide insight into this type of leadership conflict and provide a couple tools organizations can use to assist their leaders. As we enter a period of rapid retirement in the federal workforce, these tools could prove invaluable to fulfill the wildland fire service mission.

Executive Coaching

  • Determine the real causes of conflict.
  • Reestablish trust between team members.
  • Repair or build relationships.
Here is a video from leadership expert John Baldoni about peer coaching.

Getting It Right the First Time

  • Hire the right leader.
  • Know your candidates.
  • Include lower level leaders who are familiar with the organizations culture in the interview process.
  • Select the candidate that "will bring both vision and an ability to work on a team."

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