A fox aspiring to be an OWL -A case study, LAMSIG IATEFL 2015

As a DOS / managing director of a language school I deal with challenges and conflicts on a daily basis, which can lead to stress. I deal with stress by running three or four times a week. Just lately on my runs I have encountered a fox that comes out at dawn and dusk, to look for food. I noticed that we have a number of things in common. We run at the same times of day, we are usually alone and we are looking for opportunities (to eat, in the case of the fox, to get fitter and think clearer, in my case).

At the end of the LAMSIG (leadership and management PCE) which focused on case studies I am left pondering what kind of a manager am I, as portrayed by Thomas and Kilmann,1977? I know I’m not the competitive shark or the accommodating teddy bear, but do identify with the turtle who likes to avoid difficult situations. However I probably am more similar to the compromising fox than I should be as a manager. Now that I have had the time to reflect, actively listen and learn from colleagues from all over the globe I will aspire to become the wise owl, who is able to collaborate more successfully in difficult situations.

So like the fox in my neighbourhood my job can be quite lonely, yet there are opportunities out there for collaboration. I don’t need to fend for myself but I do need to manage, as that is what I am paid for. So the next time a conflict arises I will ’embrace the conflict’, say yes and activate my negotiation skills. I will strive to be an owl by separating the people (their emotions, values and perceptions) from the problem. I will focus on the reasons for the conflict and explore all the options for the benefit of the organisation, and hopefully all involved.

Although not yet an owl, I do feel a little wiser following today’s fantastic LAMSIG PCE.