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Is A Good Leader A Good Conflict Facilitator? Is A Good Conflict Facilitator A Good Leader?

From Stephanie West Allen’s blog on Neuroscience and conflict resolution .

This month’s Fast Company includes an article about four traits of leadership: curiosity, charisma, knowledge of neuroscience, and adaptability. Often these four traits are also embodied by someone skilled in resolving disputes.

James Kuczmarski, author of the article "The Journal-ist: In the Lead," reviewed four recent academic journals to create the quartet.

In "The Role of Curiosity in Global Managers’ Decision-Making" from The Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, he read of the leadership value of curiosity. Curiosity is also important for professionals in conflict resolution. They wonder what’s really going on here?

Charisma is discussed in an article published in Journal of Applied Psychology. Kuczmarski writes:

[I]t’s not just charisma that matters–it’s also the perception of charisma. To boost perceptions, you have to get your audience highly aroused. (Mind out of the gutter: To psychologists, arousal means the level of audience interest and engagement.) High arousal leads to "an amplification of … charismatic appeal." That is, you’ll seem even more charismatic than you already are and better able to sustain others’ excitement . . .  .

Interest and engagement—even excitement—boost conflict resolution.

313pxbrainlobessvg"The Neuroscience of Leadership" was just reprinted in Reclaiming Children and Youth. (I have blogged
about that neuroscience article in the past at idealawg.) Because of the  keys to human behavior one gains from knowledge of neuroscience, a threshold purpose of Brains on Purpose™ is detailing the many benefits of brain knowledge for effective dispute resolution.

Finally, Kuczmarski writes about the merits of adaptability described

in an article from The Australian Journal of Public Administration. He says adaptability

useful for problems that require "a shift … in ways of thinking
across a community."  . . .  An adaptive leader helps constituents
understand the problem themselves, and then they build a plan together.
Such a leader is a facilitator "helping communities face their

Sounds like the skills of a good mediator.

Facilitating dispute resolution often involves excellent leadership.
In what ways are leadership and conflict resolution different? What traits might be useful in conflict resolution but not in leadership?

Note: At idealawg, I just mentioned a brand new article about neuroscience: "Brain at Work." The article includes some strategies for brains working together, and problems in brains collaborating.

Hat tip to Synergy Illinois.


Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive… MORE >

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