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Two leadership approaches:

Substance and process

Substance approach is direct while process approach mitigates conflict

· team,to-sort

Information asymmetry makes dialogues between leaders and professionals very interesting:

  • How does the leader put pressure on the professional and respect professional norms at the same time ?
  • How do they cooperate without compromising too much on their norms?
  • How does the professional account for the unaccountable?

There are no easy answers to these questions, they largely depend on the situation at hand. However it is possible to exercise skills to make these dialogues successful.

Start with a rough distinction between two approaches a leader may use:

Substantive approach

  • Definition: this approach is simply finding a substantive solution to a specific problem
  • Pros: straightforward, direct
  • Cons: generates conflict, trust is vulnerable

Process approach

  • Definition: this approach is a continuous process where the solution emerged on its own.
  • Pros: mitigates conflict, opportunity to build trust
  • Cons: slow, half-hearted compromises