Job Hunting

Study: Playing Well With Others Pays

Anger, poor conflict-resolution skills hinder career advancement, research shows.
Lisa YoonJanuary 28, 2003

According to a new study from Eckerd College’s Management Development Institute, the way a manager resolves conflict has a lot to do with that manager’s perceived effectiveness as a leader. That, in turn, can alter the manager’s chances of getting promoted.

The study looked at 90 male and 82 female executives at five organizations from different industries: a resort hotel, a manufacturing company, an insurance company, and two governmental agencies. All of them were participating in a conflict-resolution program designed for their organization by MDI as part development of MDI’s Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP).

As part of the program, each employee participant, along with the employee’s boss, four peers, and four direct reports completed a CDP describing the employee’s conflict-resolution style.

In addition to the CDP, the bosses, peers, and direct reports also rated the individual on a 5-point scale as an “excellent leader of people” and an “excellent candidate for promotion.”

The responses revealed that employees who exhibited “active constructive behaviors” such as taking perspective, creating solutions, expressing emotions, and reaching out to others were considered more effective leaders and the most suitable for promotion.

On the other hand, those who showed so-called “active destructive behaviors” like winning at all costs, displaying anger, demeaning others, and retaliating, were generally not considered to be effective leaders or suitable for promotion. Incidentally, their bosses found behavior that indicated avoidance to be especially problematic.

To get along better with the boss, the Center for Creative Leadership, in association with MDI, offers the following tips on resolving conflicts the easy way:

Analyze your own perspective. Understand why you think and feel the way you do when reacting to a conflict. Then examine your perception of the conflict and your underlying assumptions.

Put yourself in others’ shoes. You must be able to see things from another point of view to manage conflict successfully.

Be proactive in looking for solutions. Have a discussion with your boss. Express yourself honestly and openly, be specific, ask for feedback and look for common ground. Then determine how you will address the issues and make a plan to resolve the conflict. Be sure to update your boss on your progress.

Evaluate your progress. Think about what worked and what didn’t, and make notes for future run-ins.

CFOs On the Move

Marketing agency Euro RSCG Tatham Partners named Nikhil Basu the company’s new CFO. Basu was most recently CFO of CCG.XM Worldwide, the interactive network of Cordiant Communications Group Plc. Before that he was regional finance director for Bates Indonesia and at Bates Latin America … Phoenix Footwear has hired Ken Wolf as CFO. The former Callaway Golf finance executive replaces Bob Pereira.