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Leadership and Goal Processing

From the guiding process goal processing, it can be justified that a leader ought to derive a certain satisfaction from conflicts and handling them. Leading and conflict are Siamese twins. What goes alongside this, is that conflicts are not solvable but only regulatable. For this, the leader requires particularly that, which is called ambiguity tolerance in psychology. This is the ability of paying attention to two opposing values at the same time. Those who, as leaders, make a world of black and white from a world of grey tones too quickly, in order to gain clarity and unambiguity, can probably not handle very well the inner turmoil of all goal processing in organisations. In the team, this often leads to the notorious ‘group think’, i.e. the self-immunisation of a group against divergent opinions and points of view. The danger of such an attitude is confirmed in countless socio-psychological studies. Putting it another way, one can say that a leader is doing justice to his role when he allows a silent remnant of doubt to remain in all that he thinks and does. This allows him to be open for variations and other ideas.

Another thing leaders often find difficult, is that they do not unilaterally rely on problem solving or interest processing but see both as equally important. This is, emotionally, not at all easy, because everybody has a kind of home harbour: some prefer satisfying everybody without solving the problem, and the others would prefer to lose all relationships rather than compromising on their solutions. Both of these are dysfunctional in the leadership role.