From the Author
You have identified three faces of leadership. What are they?
In the book, I identified the three faces of leadership--the Mediator, the
Manager, and the Demagogue--they are, to varying degrees, part of each of
us and are present in most organizations and communities. These three faces
highlight the choices that each of us must make about how we as leaders
will deal with differences.
The Mediator represents a leadership approach that transforms differences
into opportunities. These are leaders who can take care of even the most
challenging situations. The Manager model is limited by its own identity.
While Managers do not actively use and leverage difference for bad,
destructive ends, these leaders are
often imprisoned by their own job definition. The third type is the
Demagogue. The Demagogue uses fear of difference as a lever with which to
gain more power. Leaders who use this approach wield their power in
destructive ways in countless leadership contexts.
Why should individuals invest in learning how to be better mediators?
I wrote Leading Through Conflict to make the skills of the mediator more
to every person who wants to deal more effectively and creatively with the
in his or her life. Whether we are leaders in government, in business
in civic organizations such as churches, hospitals, or schools, we will be
if, in addition to managerial skills, we have mediation skills. By learning
about the leader as mediator, we will profoundly raise the level of our own
and that of others around us as well.
Why do you view being a competent manager as a potentially negative
Let me be clear about this: Competent managers do much to making a better
and to making our lives more pleasant and productive. Professionally, these
want to contribute to their organization or community; personally, they
want to succeed.
Their strength is that, within firm and fairly constant boundaries, they
Unfortunately, the limitations of this model of leadership are as
significant as its
strengths. The focus of the Manager is on "us." Managerial leaders are
that "our people" do well--but what happens to "them," those who are
their jurisdiction, is not of their concern. Consequently, Managers often
defensive, combative, or paralyzed when they face "cross-boundary", or
problems. Today's world is the Manager's nightmare because so many current
leadership challenges cross boundaries. Leaders simply cannot deal with
of the challenges they face if they act like ordinary Managers. In fact, as
in the book, they will make matters worse.
Take the U.S. Congress, for example. When our representatives behave like
Democrats or Republicans, and turn every piece of legislation into a war
advantage, they fail as leaders. What is needed are Mediators who can
bridge partisan differences and create legislation that works for the whole
country, not just
a political party.
From the Inside Flap
Today more than sixty-three thousand transnational companies operate
globally with over eight hundred thousand subsidiaries spanning the planet.
They employ more than ninety million people and produce 25 percent of the
world's GNP. Leading across these enormous and complex global differences
is now essential to leaders, both in business and in public life.
Increasingly, leaders are responsible to a wide range of stakeholders who
are often scattered around the world and at the same time are juggling
numerous cross-border constituencies. Effective leaders today must develop
the skills for turning these differences into opportunities--or they simply
won't succeed. In Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders
Transform Differences into Opportunities (Harvard Business School Press;
May 8, 2006), facilitation leadership expert Mark Gerzon provides a new
model of leadership that puts conflict at the center, as an essential test
of leadership. Distilling the essential principles of the new kind of
leadership needed to face the challenges of increasingly global economics
and politics, Gerzon shows how to turn conflict into an asset rather than a
liability. Through interviews with scores of leaders around the world,
Gerzon has studied closely how leaders have transformed some of the most
challenging, intractable conflicts of our time. He identifies three faces
of leadership--the Mediator, who is able to transform differences into
opportunities; the Manager, who possesses a limited perspective because of
jurisdiction and project scope; and the Demagogue, who uses fear of
difference as a way to gain more power. To lead effectively, he states,
you are compelled to become a Mediator--to negotiate--to listen to the
other's interests and needs and to fashion an outcome that works for all
sides. As organizations and societies gradually flatten themselves from
pyramids into networks, the form of decision making shifts from vertical to
horizontal, from giving orders to negotiation. To help individuals become
better Mediators--in both professional and personal settings--Gerzon has
identified eight essential tools, showing how to put them into practice
including: integral vision, systemic thinking, presence, inquiry, conscious
conversation, dialogue, bridging, and innovation. In Leading Through
Conflict, Gerzon maps out the challenges, inspires with real-life examples
from around the world, and outlines practical tools needed
to be able to turn the differences we all face into opportunities for
ourselves and others.