April 4, 2017


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Conflict Management



The Leading the Leaders seminars are designed to develop current and next-generation leaders and managers. The April seminar, like the previous three, was led by Barry Bowater, a Certified Adizes Associate with Adizes Institute Worldwide, for an audience of diplomats.

“The seminar was very clarifying, very directive and will improve my work.”

Diplomat who participated in the April seminar

The focus of the session was Conflict Management. Early on he asked, “What are the most common sources of conflict?” After a time of interaction, he highlighted four main sources of conflict resulting from differences in:

  • roles and responsibilities – especially when there is misunderstanding over a person’s level of authority. Adizes defines authority within an organisation as the right to say “no” to a demand or a request.
  • management styles – Mr. Bowater reminded us of the main characteristics of the four different styles: Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur and Integrator and how they differ on a long-term vs short term focus and effective vs efficient perspectives. These different foci and perspectives can create conflict, especially when making and implementing decisions. He also pointed out that each style has its assets and its liabilities.
  • interests – this occurs often when there is a lack of a common purpose.
  • values and beliefs

How does one go about managing these different sources of conflict? When it comes to differences in interest, it is important that employees have a common interest in the well-being of the organisation. Here Mr. Bowater underlined the critical roles of mutual trust and respect within the organisation. Mutual trust and respect are fostered by staying engaged, dealing with the issue at hand, being willing to work with all in the room, owning the conflict, staying focused on solving the issue and respecting one another.

The employees must also develop a clear understanding of why the organisation exists in the first place. What is the service that the organisation offers to society? The answer to the why drives what the organisation does, how it does it, who within the organisation does it and when it gets done.

When dealing with the different styles, Mr. Bowater repeatedly emphasized the need for people of all four styles to be involved when a decision is made. The four different perspectives are required in order to make a good decision. Differences of opinion need to be discussed openly and the different styles should seek to understand one another. Finally Mr. Bowater came back again to the significance of character in building a culture of mutual trust and respect–establishing and implementing the ground rules for constructive conflict. 

Diplomats who could not attend this seminar may request the material in pdf and video format.

Barry Bowater
Barry Bowater

Barry Bowater works in Canada and the United States to teach Adizes and guide clients to transform their organizations through these leadership principles. His specialty is not-for-profit organizations and small to mid-sized companies. Barry also utilizes Adizes in his responsibilities with the Government of Canada.

Barry was first introduced to Adizes in 1989 when he was chosen to deploy the methodology within his own organization. He and his wife Wendy founded the Christian Embassy of Canada. He also served as Chief of Staff for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources from 1991 to 1993.

He and Wendy have four children and ten grandchildren and reside in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.