Leadership starts with ownership

I believe the time is now right and any concern of repercussions would be covered by the statute of limitations.
It all started innocently enough while on a family vacation. Our tent was pitched at Bull Run in Prince William County near Manassas, Virginia. 
We spent our days taking in all the sights in Washington, D.C. This also included a much-anticipated White House tour. 
I was only about 6 or 7-years-old at the time. We were queued up in line to go inside the White House and when we arrived at the door to step inside, a guard greeted us. He reached out and patted my head and said, “Hello, curly.” 
At that time, I had blondish-brown curly hair. The only thing I hated more than having curly hair was someone mentioning it. At that moment, I did not appreciate the “compliment” that he was paying me. I was offended and I let him know.
With all the strength that I could muster, I reared back and proceeded to kick this White House guard in the shin as hard as I could. 
It was not the proudest moment in my young life and more than once I heard about it from my parents.
I’ve been back to Washington numerous times since and have stopped by the White House to take a picture, but have never been back inside. I hope to again someday, and, if so, I promise to be on my best behavior.
As leaders, we all make choices with regard to the way we handle conflict. You see it play out on a daily basis in your place of work, where conflict and tensions seem to always be simmering just beneath the surface.
Recent research by The Myers-Briggs Company revealed that managers spend nearly four hours a week dealing with conflict on average. 
The research included insights such as: 
● Poor communication is the number one reason for conflict.
● Nearly one in four people think that their managers handle conflict poorly or very poorly.
● The more time that an individual spent dealing with conflict at work, the lower their job satisfaction and the less included they felt.
In this day and time, leaders can’t afford to be passive bystanders when conflicts are occurring all around them. There are some things that a leader can delegate for the sake of good organizational management, but when it comes to a healthy organizational culture and
preserving it – the ownership of it starts with the leadership.
Conflict is never easy, but not all conflict is bad. Not every pat on the head is an act of hostility and not every kick in the shin should be seen as a rebellion. People’s perspectives are different and that’s why smart leaders are relentless communicators 
©2023 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is a certified leadership speaker, trainer, and coach. Learn more at dougdickerson.net/.

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