Emotional Fields and Disrupters

Dr. David Cox is Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership (1992-2014) at Arkansas State University.  We connected with him in 2012 and spoke to one of his classes through audio hook up.  Dr. Cox is deeply interested in Edwin Friedman’s work and the connection Healing Leaders explored between Friedman’s thinking and contemporary leadership. This post, and some following, contains parts of Cox’s paper, The Edwin Friedman Model of Family Systems Thinking: Lessons for Organizational Leaders:

“Friedman…had a special concern with emotional fields created by leaders that value togetherness over individuality, creativity, and/or imagination. He observed that when a self-directed, imaginative, energetic, or creative member (low in the organizational hierarchy) is being consistently frustrated and sabotaged rather than encouraged and supported, 100 percent of the time it will be true that, regardless of whether the disrupters are supervisors, subordinates, or peers, the person at the very top of that institution will be a peace-monger…a person who believes good feelings are more important than progress, and who goes to great lengths to avoid anxiety and conflict at all costs.”

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