The Impacts of Leadership on Workplace Conflicts
BBA 2026: Organizational Communication
This articles message is to talk about the influence on managers leadership styles. The three leadership styles are transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire. These three styles will be evaluated on the level and the nature of workplace conflicts, both cognitive and relational in nature. (Doucet et al, 2009). This study was conducted in Canada by hospital employees, and a total of 1031 completed questionnaires were completed. The study found that two conflict dimensions do not come from the same mechanisms. inspirational motivation and individualized consideration negatively influence relational conflicts whereas management by exception-active and management by exception-passive impact it positively. (Doucet et al, 2009). The results of this research highlight the importance of a supervisor’s ability to introduce a common vision and demonstrate individualized consideration to reduce workplace conflict during periods of organizational change. Originality/value – Although researchers stress that conflict management represents an important role for leaders, very few empirical studies have examined how leadership influences workplace conflicts. (Doucet et al, 2009).
Leadership in the workplace is instrumental in the development of their employees. Not only are they there to supervise their work, give evaluations, provide guidance on their company, and teach them the job, but they are also there to help alleviate any tensions within the workplace and act when needed. This article talks about the different leadership styles and how they influence the workplace. The leadership styles being discussed in the study are transformational, transactional and the laissez-faire, and how leadership and conflict management have been overlooked. Some researches state that conflict management is a vital part of what leadership is. I will be discussing the three different leadership styles and their responses in conflict, as stated above. As a leader, being able to solve conflict is vital in providing a productive work environment that is free of negativity and stress. Let’s discuss the styles that I have stated before.
Transformational leadership and conflict, as stated in the article argues that by emphasizing the organization’s interests over the individual’s own interests, transformational leaders find ways to resolve conflict between subordinates (Doucet et al, 2009). Transformational leaders take the issue from both sides and put them together. They show the employees what they can gain from cooperating with one another instead of holding a rigid position on a subject. By placing the two employees that are in a conflict in a group together, leaders transform the situation into a mutual problem to be solved. In the Army, I can see this. Instead of taking sides of an issue, I have seen leaders put the two Soldiers together and have them talk about a way they can both compromises to get what they each want. Instead of back and forth issues, it becomes a together solution. I believe this is a very good technique for leadership. In the article on, Evaluating Conflict between Employees: Exploring
the Costs to an Organization by Cross, D. et al, it states that conflict in the workplace is episodic and comes in cycles as people interact with each other. (Cross et al, 2014). By placing two employees together with their leadership, they work out the issues together instead of arguing back and forth and getting nowhere. This way of stopping a conflict is a great example of the active listening communication technique. They develop a shared understanding of the issue together and listen to one another without interjecting to come up with a compromised solution that they both can live with.
Another leadership and conflict example are the transactional method. This is when leadership helps maintain positive interactions between their employees work environment by giving incentive and rewards. This can be both good and bad, to me anyways. If you reward good behavior more to one individual than to another, then other issues can arise such as jealousy to employees talking behind others back. The article states that leaders who promote clear rules of conduct and can manage subordinates’ expectations in a team could reduce the level of frustration that could emerge from their interactions (Doucet et al, 2009). I do not think that this will work in the long run because everyone will have that limit of staying calm. No one can just listen to the rules and suddenly not get offended. Yes, this method as far as providing clear instruction on conduct and the rules of the office as a transactional leader is good, but it won’t always be followed. An article by Overton, A and Lowry, A, stated that the proposed benefits of conflict include improved understanding of the task, team development, and quality of group decision making (Overton, A. & Lowry, A., 2013). Sometimes people need to work through their issues at hand rather that providing a no conflict work environment. I have benefited from arguing with peers on certain subjects. We came to a conclusion overall, after a long time of discussion, but in the end, the mission was completed, and we had a stronger relationship because of it.
The Laissez-Faire leadership and conflict technique are when leaders let the problem work themselves out instead of intervening. It states in the article that This positive relationship between laissez-faire leadership and conflict could nevertheless be viewed in the opposite light, as it could be argued that not intervening in a conflict situation could effectively lead to higher levels of conflict (Doucet et al, 2009). I disagree with this. When leadership gets involved, employees may act different in order to not look bad or not lose their job. So, they come up with a “solution,” and end up walking away with no resolutions. I believe that you must let them express themselves and be heard, which is a sign of assertive communication. Both sides sharing a point of their take in the problem. Yes, taking immediate action should never be the answer. Using the Laissez-Faire method, employees are relied upon to make the correct cognitive decision on whether to argue or not. The article on Conflict Management: Difficult Conversations with Difficult People, states that it is important to cultivate self-awareness in regard to one’s physical and emotional reaction to situations involving conflict (Overton, A. & Lowry, A., 2013). Sometimes you must give the employees room to solve their own issues and trust them to make the best decision for them and the company they work for. By using the problem solving and negotiation technique of communication, leadership will not have to be involved. Negotiating with one another to come up with a middle ground both parties can work with and problem-solving by identifying the causes of the issue will help make leadership involvement not necessary.
By researching the three different leadership styles, transformational, transactional and Laissez-Faire, I have concluded that these are the only three leadership styles I have seen and experienced. Providing the room where employees can work things out by themselves, offering rewards for a stronger team, and being with them on every conflict is what leadership is about. To me, you must have all three to really balance out a good leader. This article stated many points on why their methods work, and the benefits, as well as disadvantages, come from these methods. I am glad to take something away from this when mentoring my Soldiers.
Cross, D., Burris, S.W.M., and Shaw, M., (2014). Evaluating Conflict between Employees: Exploring the Costs to an Organization. International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace. Vol. 1, Iss. 1. Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ijaaa
Doucet, O., Poitras, J., & Chenevert, D. (2009). The Impacts of Leadership on Workplace Conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 20, Iss. 4. Retrieved from https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/abicomplete/docview/199036179/EB5A072DABB94237PQ/2?accountid=33337
Overton, A. and Lowry, A., (2013). Conflict Management: Difficult Conversations with Difficult People. 26(4) 259-264. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835442/