Communication Skills (Part 2)
The democratic type is not always appropriate, like the other type. It is
most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when
implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems. The
democratic leadership type is most effective when :
- The leader wants employees to share in decision-making and
- The leader wants to keep employees informed about matters that affect
- The leader wants to provide opportunities for employees to develop a
high sense of personal growth and job satisfaction.
- Changes must be made or problems solved that affect employees or groups
- There is a large or complex problem that requires lots of input to
Democratic leadership should not be used when
- The manager feels threatened by this type of leadership.
- There is not enough time to get everyone’s input.
- Employee safety is a critical concern.
- It’s easier and more cost-effective for the manager to make the
B.Laissez -Faire Leadership Type
Laissez-Faire type is one, in which the manager provides little or no
direction and gives employees as much freedom as possible. All authority or
power is given to the employees and they must determine goals, make decisions,
and resolve problems on their own. This leadership type is also known as the
This is an effective type to use when :
- Employees are highly skilled, experienced, and educated.
- Employees have pride in their work and the drive to do it successfully
on their own.
- Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants are being used
- Employees are experienced & trustworthy.
This style should not be used when
- Managers are unable to thank employees for their good work.
- It makes employees feel insecure at the unavailability of a manager.
- The manager doesn’t understand his or her responsibilities and is hoping
the employees can cover for him or her.
- The manager cannot provide regular feedback to let employees know how
well they are doing.
C. Autocratic Leadership Type
Autocratic Leadership type is one in which the manager retains as much power
and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult
employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. This is often considered the
classical approach. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any
explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured
set of rewards and punishments.
This leadership type has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years.
Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher
turnover and absenteeism than other organizations. These studies say that
- Rely on threats and punishment to influence employees.
- Do not trust employees.
- Do not allow for employee input.
Yet, autocratic leadership is not all bad. Sometimes it is the most effective
type to use. These situations can include:
- A manager’s power is challenged by an employee.
- New, untrained employees who do not know which tasks to perform or which
procedures to follow.
- Work needs to be coordinated with another department or organization.
- Effective supervision can be provided only through detailed orders and
- Employees do not respond to any other leadership type.
- There are high-volume production needs on a daily basis.
The autocratic leadership type should not be used when
- Employees begin depending on their manager to make all their decisions.
- Employees become tense, fearful, or resentful.
- There is low employee morale, absenteeism and work stoppage.
- Employees expect to have their opinions heard.
D. Bureaucrat ic Leadership Type
Where the manager manages by the book and everything must be done according
to procedure or policy is Bureaucratic leadership. If it isn’t covered by the
book, the manager refers to the next level above him or her. This manager is
really more of a police officer than a leader. He or she enforces the rules.
This type can be effective when :
- Employees are performing routine tasks over and over.
- Employees are performing tasks that require handling cash.
- Employees need to understand certain standards or procedures.
- Safety or security training is being conducted.
- Employees are working with dangerous or delicate equipment that requires
a definite set of procedures to operate.
This style is ineffective when
- Work habits form that are hard to break, especially if they are no
- Employees lose their interest in their jobs and in their fellow workers.
- Employees do only what is expected of them and no more.
Varying Leadership Types
While the proper leadership type depends on the situation, there are three
other factors that also influence which leadership style to use.
- The company, the traditions, values, philosophy, and concerns of the
company will influence how a manager acts.
- The manager’s personal background. Employees are individuals with
different personalities and backgrounds.
- The employees being supervised. The leadership type, managers may use
will vary, depending upon the individual employee and what he or she will
respond best to.
Values mostly remain predictable, they are consistent, even in volatile times. A clear set of values helps tell
people what their lives are for and what is worth working for. Values tell people what is good and important and
values bind society. Social scientists believe that without values, a society could disintegrate, a risk often present
in India. Religious heads believe that without values, human life is meaningless and all the worldly pleasures will
not lead to any satisfaction. Yes, a lack of good values is why scams happen, nepotism exists and the government
doesn’t care about its people. To any society and human being core values are vital.
So why are we in such a confused state? Where have we gone wrong? Are Indians less moral, despite being
the most religious in the world? No, we are perfectly fine people. The land where Buddha and Gandhi became
icons, purely by the strength of their values, means ours is a society that understands goodness. The reason there
is no concrete set of Indian values yet is that the concept of India itself is new.
When we think of Indian values, we normally think of personal values - such as family, religion and respect
for elders. These things are notably Indian. However, ask someone to articulate Indian community values, and
there won’t be a clear answer. Do we value wealth or education? Do we value democracy where people have a
greater say in how they are governed, or do we believe in power in the hands of a select few to whom the laws
don’t apply? Do we value honesty, or do we value getting a job done anyhow? Do we believe in frugality, or do we
want to show off our wealth? Do we value our local communities, or do we value being part of India?
These questions have no easy answer. There are conflicting responses to any of these questions in the India
we see around us today. Scholars, unable to account for this, make profound statements like ‘there are many
Indians within India’. Some romantic types even call it ‘the beauty of India, where everything is unpredictable’.
At present, there is no easy answer. There is also deep cynicism. But if we keep looking, and contribute to the
quest for the right answer, we will find it. The answer to this fundamental question will determine our Constitution,
our laws and where we will go as a society and nation in times to come. India will grow economically in the next
10 years. But if we focus on our collective values too, it will truly be a happy new decade
Work ethics involves not only how one feels about their job, career or vocation, but also how one does his/her
job or responsibilities. This involves attitude, behaviour, respect, communication, and interaction; how one gets
along with others. Work ethics demonstrate many things about whom and how a person is.
Work ethics involve such characteristics as honesty and accountability. Essentially, work ethics break down
to what one does or would do in a particular situation. The begging question in a situation involves what is right
and acceptable, and above board, versus what is wrong., underhanded, and under the table.
There are two central work ethics - humility and the treatment of others. Humility is being humble, no task
is too demeaning. Humility involves servitude, which emphasizes placing other peoples need before ones own.
Treating others with decency and respect equate to the golden rule. The treatment of others involves loving your
neighbour, loving your enemy, doing good to those who dislike you. It involves valuing others, and knowing they
It is said that evolution is as much of a biological issue as it is an ethical one. the higher you are on the
evolutionary ladder, themore important become ethics, or the concepts of right and wrong. In fact, what sets man
apart from animals is a heightened sense of ethical and moral value-be it in the soothing realm of the family or
the rapidly competitive world of work.
Work ethics, such as honesty, doing a job well, valuing what one does, having a sense of purpose and feeling/
being a part of a greater vision or plan is vital. Philosophically, if one does not have proper work ethics, a person’s
conscience may be bothered. People for the most part have good work ethic(s); we should not only want to do, but
desire to do the proper thing in a given situation.
A question may involve where they came from, if they come from within. Philosophically, this may lead to
various perspectives; however, the truth about work ethics, and where they come from are answered from a
Christian worldview. Work ethics come from God the creator. God made humans in His image, and His word
proclaims these various work ethics - honesty, integrity, doing a job well, keeping things above board, and
A struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals may be defined as
Conflict. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might
escalate and lead to non-productive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final
products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team. Although very few people go looking for conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with
regard to their needs, ideas, beliefs, goals, or values. The principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved,
but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of non-productive escalation, it is called conflict
management. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about
conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your
environment. Listening, oral communication, interpersonal communication, and teamwork rank near the top of
skills that employers seek in their new hires
When we learn to effectively manage and resolve conflicts with others, then more opportunities for successful
team memberships are available to us. If we can learn to manage this highly probable event called conflict, then
we are less apt to practice destructive behaviors that will negatively impact our team. Although conflict may be
misunderstood and unappreciated, research shows that unresolved conflict can lead to aggression. Most of us use
conflict skills that we observed growing up, unless we have made a conscious effort to change our conflict
management style. Some of us observed good conflict management, while others observed faulty conflict
management. Most of us have several reasons to improve our conflict-management skills. Most people do not
resolve conflicts because they either have a faulty skill set and/or because they do not know the organization’s
policy on conflict management. All team members need to know their conflict styles, conflict intervention methods,
and strategies for conflict skill improvement.
How do we respond to conflict?
Physiologically we respond to conflict in one or two ways, we want to get away from the conflict or we are
ready to take on anyone who comes in our way. Do you want to leave or do you want to fight when a conflict
presents itself? Neither physiological response is good or bad-it’s personal response. What is important to learn,
regardless of our initial physiological response to conflict, is that we should intentionally choose our response to
Whether we feel like we want to fight or flee when a conflict arises, we can deliberately choose a conflict
mode. By consciously choosing a conflict mode instead of to conflict, we are more likely to productively contribute
to solving the problem at hand. Below are some conflict response modes that we can use in a conflict.
Modes of Conflict:
All people can benefit, both personally and professionally, by learning conflict management skills. Typically
we respond to conflict by using one of five modes
Each of these modes can be characterized by two scales: assertiveness and cooperation. None of these modes
is wrong to use, but there are right and wrong times to use each. The following sections describe the five modes.
The information may help each team member to characterize her/his model for conflict management.
The competing conflict mode is high assertiveness and low cooperation. Times when the competing mode is
appropriate are when quick action needs to be taken, when unpopular decisions need to be made, when vital
issues must be handled, or when one is protecting self-interests.
- Asserting your opinions and feelings
- Arguing or debating
- Stating your position clearly
- Standing your ground
- Using rank or influence
High assertiveness and high cooperation is the collaborating mode. Collaboration has been described as
“putting an idea on top of an idea on top of an idea ... in order to achieve the best solution to a conflict.” A creative solution to the conflict that would not have been generated by a single individual is defined as the best solution. With
such a positive outcome for collaboration, some people will profess that the collaboration mode is always the best
conflict mode to use. However, collaborating takes a great deal of time and energy.
Times when the collaborative
mode is appropriate are when the conflict is important to the people who are constructing an integrative solution,
when the issues are too important to compromise, when merging perspectives, when gaining commitment, when
improving relationships, or when learning.
Therefore, the collaborating mode should be used when the conflict warrants the time and energy. For example,
if your team is establishing initial parameters for how to work effectively together, then using the collaborating
mode could be quite useful. On the other hand, if your team is in conflict about where to go to lunch today, the
time and energy necessary to collaboratively resolve the conflict is probably not beneficial.
- Analyzing input
- Active listening
- Identifying concerns
- Non threatening confrontation
The compromising mode is moderate assertiveness and moderate cooperation. Some people define compromise
as “giving up more than you want,” while others see compromise as both parties winning. Times when the
compromising mode is appropriate are when you are dealing with issues of moderate importance, when you have
equal power status, or when you have a strong commitment for resolution. Compromising mode can also be used
as a temporary solution when there are time constraints.
- Assessing value
- Finding a middle ground
- Making concessions
The avoiding mode is low assertiveness and low cooperation. Many times
peoplewill avoid conflicts out of fear of engaging in a conflict or because they
do not have confidence in their conflict management skills. Times when the
avoiding mode is appropriate are when you have issues of low importance, to
reduce tensions, to buy some time, or when you are in a position of lower power.
- Ability to withdraw
- Ability to sidestep issues
- Ability to leave things unresolved
- Sense of timing
The accommodating mode is low assertiveness and high cooperation. Times when
the accommodating mode is appropriate are to show reasonableness, develop
performance, create good will, or keep peace. Some people use the accommodating
mode when the issue or outcome is of low importance to them. The accommodating
mode can be problematic when one uses the mode to “keep a tally” or to be a
martyr. For example, if you keep a list of the number of times you have
accommodated someone and then you expect that person to realize, without your
communicating to the person, that she/he should now accommodate you.
- Ability to yield
- Forgetting your desires
- Obeying orders
How to discern our conflict modes?
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is a widely used assessment
for determining conflict modes. The assessment takes less than fifteen minutes
to complete and yields conflict scores in the areas of avoiding, competing,
compromising, accommodating, and collaborating.
What factors can affect our conflict modes?
Some factors that can effect how we respond to conflict, are listed below
- Communication skills The essence of conflict resolution and conflict
management is the ability to communicate effectively. People who have and
use effective communication will resolve their conflicts with greater ease
- Situation is where the conflict occurring, do we know the person we are
in conflict with, and is the conflict personal or professional?
- Self-concept How we think and feel about ourselves affect how we
approach conflict. Do we think our thoughts, feelings, and opinions are
worth being heard by the person with whom we are in conflict?
- Position (Power) What is our power status relationship, (that is, equal,
more, or less) with the person with whom we are in conflict?
- Gender Some of us were socialized to use particular conflict modes
because of our gender. For example, some males, because they are male, were
taught “always stand up to someone, and, if you have to fight, then fight.”
It one was socialized this way he will be more likely to use assertive
conflict modes versus using cooperative modes.
- Expectations from others. Do we believe the other person or our team
wants to resolve the conflict?
- Practice involves being able to use all five conflict modes effectively,
being able to determine what conflict mode would be most effective to
resolve the conflict, and the ability to change modes as necessary while
engaged in conflict.
Determining the best mode Through knowledge about conflict and through
practice we develop a “conflict management understanding” and can, with ease
and limited energy, determine what conflict mode to use with the particular
person with whom we are in conflict.
Life experiences As mentioned earlier, we often practice the conflict
modes we saw our primary care takers use unless we have made a conscious
choice as adults to change or adapt our conflict styles. Some of us had
great role models teach us to manage our conflicts and others of us had
less-than-great role models. Our life experiences, both personal and
professional, have taught us to frame conflict as either something positive
that can be worked through or something negative to be avoided and ignored
at all costs.
Discerning how we manage our conflict, why we manage conflict the way we do,
and thinking about the value of engaging in conflict with others are important.
With better understanding we can make informed choices about how we engage in
conflict and when we will engage in conflict. The next section provides points
for us to consider when determining if we will enter into a conflict situation
or not. How might you select your conflict management style? There are times
when we have a choice to engage in or avoid a conflict. The following six
variables should be considered when you decide whether to engage in a conflict.
1. How important is the issue for us?
Even if the relationship is not of great value for us, one must often engage
in conflict if the issue is important to us. For example, if the issue is a
belief, value, or regulation that us believe in or are hired to enforce, then
engaging in the conflict is necessary. If the relationship and the issue are
both important to us, there is an even more compelling reason to engage in the
2. Are we aware of the potential consequences?
Prior to engaging in a conflict, thinking about anticipated consequences from
engaging in the conflict is wise. For example, there may be a risk for our
safety, a risk for job loss, or an opportunity for a better working
relationship. Many times people will engage in conflict and then be shocked by
the outcome or consequence of engaging in the conflict. Thoughtful reflection
about the consequences, both positive and negative, is useful before engaging in
or avoiding a conflict.
3. Are we ready for the consequences?
After analyzing potential consequences, determine whether we are prepared for
the consequences of engaging in the conflict. For example, one employee
anticipated a job loss if she continued to engage in the conflict she was having with her boss over a particular issue. After careful consideration, the employee thought and
believed strongly enough about the issue that she did engage in the conflict with her boss. Her annual
contract was not renewed for the upcoming year. Because this individual had thought through the
consequences of engaging in the conflict, she was prepared to be without a job for a while and able to
financially and emotionally plan for this outcome.
Most consequences of engaging in conflict are not this severe, but this example illustrates the value of
thinking through consequences.
4. What are the consequences if we do not engage in the conflict?
To avoid losing a sense of self, there are times when you must engage in conflict. Most people have core
values, ideas, beliefs, or morals. If a person is going to sacrifice one of their core beliefs by avoiding a conflict,
personal loss of respect must be considered. In such cases, even if a person is not excited about confronting
the conflict, one must carefully consider the consequences of evading the conflict. When the personal
consequences of turning away from the conflict outweigh all other factors, then a person usually must take
part in conflict.
5. Do we have the energy for the conflict?
Many of us say, “There is not time to do all that I want to do in a day.” Often the issue is not how much time
is available but how much energy we have for what we need to do. Even in a track meet, runners are given
recovery time before they have to run another race. Energy, not time, is being managed in these situations.
Improvement starts in the mind. If we can change our mind, we can change our life. The only person who
can change our mind is ourself. No change will take place unless we allow it. However, you might need some help
in finding out this process
Our mind is such a powerful tool that whatever we keep in it will affect our whole experience of life. If we
believe that there is nothing we can do about anything, then we are quite right. But, if we believe that we have
got unlimited potential available to us, then we are probably even more right.
Some of the things you might wish to change are:
Limited choices - Flexibility
Stress - Relaxation
Negative attitudes - Positive outlook
Fragmentation - Wholeness
Physical illness - Health
Unwanted emotional reactions - Empowering emotions
Imbalances - Balance
Mysteries - Awareness
Passivity - Action
There are many types of personal change that can help to improve our life. There are things we can do by
ourself, and there are things we might need a mental or spiritual practitioner to help us with. A great many
avenues and techniques are available for us.
Personal change happens through a journey of discovery. We need to find out more about ourself; how we do
things, how we have been limiting our options, how we have created your current situation for
ourself. Along the
way we will find out a lot more about life and about how we can be in charge of our own. And we will find that we
already have a lot of positive resources available to us.
The only pre-requisite for starting this journey of discovery is that we are willing to learn. If we realize that
there is something there to learn, then we can learn it. If we realize that there are things we have not yet understood about ourself and about life, then we can understand them. What we will learn might be unexpected
and surprising, but that is the nature of discovery.