So you’re dealing with a conflict and you’re feeling some tension with someone you work with or serve with at church. Join the club. There are healthy ways to resolve conflict.
But rather than let it linger, address it. The stakes are simply too high.
I’m increasingly convinced many churches simply don’t grow because they suffer from conflict and that many teams never thrive because there’s simply too much tension.
What do you do?
Well, first realize you’re not alone. In the United States, 70 percent of the people who go to work today will tell you they don’t like their jobs.
So many people I know get frustrated at work. And one of the top frustrations?
The people they work with.
Conflict happens wherever people gather: in families, in churches, at work and in their communities.
I think Christians often struggle with conflict because:
In the name of grace, we feel we need to sacrifice truth.
When we speak truth, we often don’t know how to speak it with grace.
We worry about hurting other people’s feelings when one of the best things we can do is offer honest feedback.
We’re not sure how to support someone we genuinely disagree with.
None of that needs to be.
I have learned, through trial and error, that these seven strategies below can help me deal with conflict.
I hope they can help you.
Here are seven ways that I hope can help you resolve conflict:
1. Own your part of the conflict
Conflict and even bad chemistry is almost never 100 percent one person’s fault.
Thinking you’re not part of the problem is often the problem.
One of the best expressions I’ve heard of how to figure out the extent to which you might be part of the problem is to ask a compelling question: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?
Own what you can. What is it like to be on the other side of you? Ask some people.
2. Go direct
Often issues are mishandled because we talk about someone rather than to someone.
Your co-worker at the water cooler isn’t the problem, so why talk to him about it?
Jesus was crystal clear on how to handle conflict, but very few Christians follow his practice. In the name of being ‘nice’ (“I can’t tell her that!”), we become ineffective.
Talk to the person you have the problem with. Directly. If you haven’t got the courage to do it, maybe the problem isn’t even big enough to worry about.