As a leader you will face conflicts! There is no way you can avoid them!
Conflicts cannot be avoided, but, they can be managed!
Jesus showed us how! While he was presenting His Sermon on the Mount he touched on how to deal with relational conflicts. In Matthew 5:23-24 He tells us that if we come to Him but our minds are being bothered by a conflict with someone, we should resolve that conflict first and then come back to Him. Add that to Matthew 18:15-17 and you find Christ’s three-step pattern for conflict resolution.
STEP ONE: STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN
Don’t react too quickly. ‘Stop’ and pray about it. It is always good to discuss the conflict with Christ first. Then, ‘look’ to see if you really read the situation correctly. It may be necessary for you to get another evaluation from someone who can help, a person who perhaps saw the conflict.
Select that person carefully. Don’t talk about a conflict to others if your motivation is to make the other person look bad. Now ‘Listen’ to the Holy Spirit and see what He says to do so that you can be sure to honor God with your response.
STEP TWO: GO TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE THE CONFLICT WITH
Go as soon as you have prayed about it. Go quickly and address the issue face to face, not via phone or email. You may feel fear, you may feel pride…that’s your problem! Jesus taught us to stop doing what we are doing when we realize we have a conflict and to go right then and seek to resolve it. Jesus said that we may be praying when He reminds us of our conflict with someone else.
Perhaps we have offended them, maybe they offended us. We are to stop praying and go right then and find that person. He also advises us to avoid involving a third or fourth person unless the two of you cannot resolve the conflict. Then, Jesus gives a complete plan for involving others so reconciliation is found.
STEP THREE: RESOLVE THE CONFLICT
An effective leader will not ignore conflict because he knows the damage it will bring. It will not go away, it will only grow and create problems. Don’t mumble and complain about it, do something about it. Do not let fear or pride stop you. You may have to clarify, you may have to apologize.
After all, perhaps God is using that person, that other opinion to show you another side to the issue. I learned an important lesson many years ago: The person the bugs me the most needs me the most. Maybe that conflict is a part of God’s growth plan for your life.
Jesus had a bottom line: Relationships are so important, they must be in harmony before worship can take place (Matthew 5:24)
Note to self: I need to get with _____________ as soon as possible!