Healthy Conflict and an Esprit de CorpsNone of this can happen without leadership beyond the department, encouraging the right people to act in the right ways. In Michigan English, the college leadership walked the talk, and two superb chairs — who also had friendships that crossed boundaries and who practiced integrity like master musicians — patiently eased the conflicts. The first used his naturally diplomatic manner and his obvious goodwill to dissolve the warring camps. The second inspired us with calmly and honestly stated high goals that people beyond the college came to respect. Neither ever lied. Each knew how to say two magic words when they made a decision that didn’t work out: “I’m sorry.” But because they were both remarkably strategic as well as fine, they did not have to say that very often.They left me, as their successor, with a department full of healthy conflict within a context of great esprit de corps.
An update on the school’s diversity plan from the school’s chancellor, Jeff Vitter, said it would continue to use the “endearing” nickname. “Data show that the term Ole Miss is broadly viewed as one of connection and affection, with strongly positive national (and international) recognition, and describing an esprit de corps that binds members of the UM community together,” the update reads.
In my book Wounded Leaders, on the psychohistory of British elitism, I named elite residential education as the training grounds for developing a facility in duplicity, entitlement, and misogyny. I proposed developing a strategic survival personality to be terrible preparation not just for family life, but also for leadership. People who have never experienced genuine belonging will find it inconceivable to engage in communal politics like the EU; having disavowed vulnerability, how would ex-boarders understand the socially vulnerable? Ex-boarders’ mutual esprit de corps compensates for loss of family life but makes them suspicious of foreigners and liberals. Bullying becomes routine in adult life: Think institutions like the House of Commons, where members routinely and mercilessly turn on one another, with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn being the latest example.
Members of staff respond by ingratiating themselves with their superiors (blat), and cover for each other in order to defend themselves from scrutiny (krugovaia porukha: esprit de corps).
The French term “esprit de corps” means a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group.