A few years ago, a good friend presented material on conflict resolution. He introduced the subject by comparing the similarities of police officers and preachers. Unusual, but the truth could not be denied.
Among several points, one stood out connected to leadership, “We desire to help others.”
Obviously, this post is not about someone who holds any position with the wrong motives. It is simply to say, the majority of those involved in either field do so because they want to help others.
We need to ask ourselves, Are we leading to help others?
Most leaders appreciate ideas for leadership and today’s post is no exception. Recently, a conversation about Moses when he stood on sacred ground revealed an idea about today’s leaders standing on scared ground. The thought raised two questions.
Why is leadership so scary? Answers to this question are abundant. Consider the responsibility of leading others spiritually with eternity in mind. Knowing that leaders deal with answering questions pertaining to goals, plans, maintaining morale, personality conflicts, providing resolution, etc., it does not take long to determine why the ground upon which leadership stands can be a scary place.
How do we overcome the scared ground for sacred ground? Spiritual leadership is a God-given role and He will help us overcome whatever challenges we face. Spending time in prayer will help us reach a more sacred footing rather than standing in a position of being scared. Studying individuals throughout the Bible, such as Hebrews 11, who were able to overcome with God’s help, will help us as we approach sacred ground.
It may not seem like much, but it is a start and sometimes getting started is half the battle.
The challenges associated with conflict run deep and the resolutions do not come quickly.
Considering previous discussions, there are a few suggestions to help us when conflict arises.
1) Embrace the conflict. We know conflict will happen. When we embrace conflict, it allows us the opportunity to learn from the conflict and grow through it.
2) Develop consistency. Nothing is more destructive than hypocrisy or more convincing than consistency. The conflict may be in our family or between others, but a consistent approach is the best start.
3) Listen to all sides. There are at least two sides to every story. Listening to only one side leads to hasty reactions, wrong conclusions, and damaged relationships.
4) Respond quickly. Waiting to address conflict introduces challenges that hinder the elimination of assumptions that can create bitter and incorrect feelings.
5) Invite collective wisdom. We are not alone when facing conflict or seeking resolution. Asking others who face similar conflict can bring a wealth of wisdom to help.
Obviously, these five suggestions are not an exhaustive list. With a good start, however, we can find resolution more quickly, and this is the goal.
Understanding why conflict exists is only the beginning. As a first step to gaining a perspective to conflict resolution, we now focus on some suggestions to consider.
1) Anticipate conflict. As challenging and, frankly, unwelcome conflict is, resolving conflict begins with an anticipation it is coming. With anticipation comes preparation, and when we are prepared we are better equipped to find resolution.
2) See the opportunity. Imagine the difference in facing conflict when we recognize conflict as an opportunity to improve our leadership, strengthen our ability to help others in conflict, and bring completeness to our faith.
3) Deal with one at a time. Conflict is no respecter of time or person. Conflict does not set a schedule to arrive at our doorstep when it is convenient. At various times, we will face an overwhelming flood of conflict. The best approach is to deal with conflict one at a time.
4) Focus on the objective. When conflict occurs, the tendency is to lose sight of our objective. Our vision is clouded by the devastation of the conflict and we cannot see the greater objective that often accompanies the outcome. Focus!
More next week…
One constant in life is “conflict.” The reality of conflict for leaders needs to be understood if we are going to bring resolution.
At least three reasons explain why conflict exists and play a part of leadership.
1) We live in a complex and diverse world. Regardless of the country, the use of technology, cross-cultural variances, language, along with generational and gender differences, all add to the complexity and diversity.
2) We interact with people. The interaction between various personality types stemming from cultural differences will always raise the issue of conflict.
3) We cannot control every situation. One of the greatest reasons for conflict is the fact that we are not in control of every situation. For the “A” personality types, this truth is frustrating.
Knowing these reasons, however, is not enough. We are all aware of the fact that conflict exists and, for some of us, these conflicts are greater now than ever before.
The question we need to consider is – how do we deal with the conflict when it comes?
Over the next few weeks, we want to consider several areas regarding how we deal successfully with conflict.