Becoming an effective leader

Supporting Skills to Become an Effective Leader

Conflict Management

Active Listening


Active listening is about adopting a deeper level of listening and communication than that which occurs in ordinary conversation, which can improve personal relationships, help reduce conflict and help foster understanding. It is a structured, non-judgemental way of listening and responding to others. People tend not to be listening attentively when interacting in a general sense. Indeed, they may be distracted, thinking about other things, or very commonly thinking about what to say next. Good active listening involves:


·    Focusing solely on what the speaker is saying;

·    Facing the speaker;

·    Maintaining comfortable eye contact;

·    Minimising distractions, including internal mental distractions (mind wandering, etc);

·    Not making assumptions about what the speaker is thinking;

·    Responding appropriately to acknowledge what is being said; for example, by raised eyebrows, using words and phrases such as ‘Really?’ and ‘What did you do then?’

·    Ask questions for clarification once the speaker has finished;

·    Suspending judgment; keeping an open mind;

·    Waiting until the person has finished before deciding that you disagree; and,

·    Waiting until the person has finished to decide if he/she is making a complaint.

Behaviours for Active Listening






Ways people deal with conflict

Activity - Create a list of at least 10 of the kind of managerial actions that might cause conflict and indicate what you could do to resolve the issue.



Handling Conflict Constructively


Handling conflict constructively is a useful management skill involving:


·    Understanding the issue and its implications;

·    Asking yourself ‘what it is it I don’t know yet’?

·    Acting impartially;

·    Making a clear distinction between ‘the individual’ and ‘the problem’;

·    Examining the issue as a shared problem to be solved co-operatively;

·    Not airing negative opinions;

·    Being straightforward and unambiguous in communicating;

·    Conveying that you care when dealing with the other person’s concerns and needs;

·    Maintaining contact with the other party, always working to improve the relationship;

·    Exploring alternatives and mutually acceptable ways of satisfying those needs;

·    Making it easy for the other party to be constructive; and,

·    Developing the ability to look at the conflict from the outside.