Great leaders embrace competition and conflict

Posted: April 27, 2010 in On Target
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Great leaders embrace competition and conflict in their teams. Unfortunately, many leaders prefer to surround themselves with weak subordinates. This condition stems from three fears. The first is the fear of being challenged or replaced by a more competent subordinate. The second is the fear of conflict, that there must be complete team harmony for it to function well.

The final one is probably the most common; it is the fear of being disliked. Who doesn’t want to be liked, appreciated, and accepted by others? In my military career, I had to learn the hard way that trying to be liked by your subordinates is the booby prize of leadership, especially if you’ve been handed a difficult mission or task. Leaders must keep a reserve of distance and perspective, but instead they often fall pray to compliments and flattery. They use their leadership position to stroke their fragile egos rather than to get the job done.

© 2010 Richard Martin

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