Here we are, knee deep in March. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the wintery magic of Christmas is long gone, and the flowers of summer are too far in the future. Will the drudgery of winter ever end?!!! If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite. Goodbye summer as you march towards winter. We are in the long, slow, slog of the year.
Don’t miss the invitation of the season to make wise conflict management choices. Didn’t see that coming, did you? Especially in the added stress of COVID-19 sweeping the globe, organizations, and even your home.
I have no doubt that you value good conflict management, but might be at a loss as how to actually “do” conflict. Other than the weaponized verse, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” you may be at a loss.
Take a moment and think of a recent situation that might require conflict management. What’s the overall situation? Who are the players? What’s at stake? Got the overall picture in your mind?
In Conflict Management for Faith Leaders (by Houston Thompson) the author points out that conflict is not so much about style, as it is choosing the most appropriate way to manage a situation. With your situation in mind, read through these six options:
Managing Conflict with Complacency
“Complacency is a conscious and intentional decision. [You] consider the circumstances, the reality, the liability, the consequences, and make a conscious decision not to get involved. It may be because the nature of the situation does not warrant intervention by [you]. It may be because the consequences of any outcome are minimal and will not change reality. The [person] who engages in conflicted situations where the outcome will have minimal impact is a [person] who is risking a lot to change a little.”
Managing Conflict with Confrontation
“Confrontation can easily become personal, biased, one sided, and irrational. Choosing confrontation is appropriate when the situation is so severe that something must be done. When the danger is imminent, the potential fallout is massive, the liability is too large a risk, or people’s lives are at stake, addressing the conflict head on may be the best option. When principles, precepts, or people are at risk it is an appropriate choice.” Confrontation needs to be intentionally chosen, not a default reaction.
Managing Conflict with Communication
“Communication is often known as mediation. Using any of the techniques of mediation, such as active listening, ‘I’ messages, and reframing, [you] mediate the conflict will attempt to open the lines of communication between the conflicting parties.”
Managing Conflict with Coordination
“Coordination attempts to orchestrate the outcome with intentional conversations and movements. It is about planning, scheduling, or organizing activities and events to address concerns and arrive at a resolution that minimizes the conflict at hand. For some conflicts, the actual results will have minimal impact, but the perception of the decision made could have a profound impact on the organization or someone in it. [You] may choose coordination in order to protect people or the organization.”
Managing Conflict with Cooperation
“Cooperation seeks to find solutions that build unity. It may be that not everyone is in total agreement with a particular solution, but each sees value in it and supports it. Even though not everyone will be in total agreement, consensus building looks for support and commitment so that everyone can be a team player. It is really a matter of being cooperative instead of oppositional.”
Managing Conflict with Collaboration
“Collaboration is the idea of working jointly for the common good of all. It is seeking a resolution in which everyone comes out on top and feels like a winner. Collaboration seeks to find the common ground between sides, use the best of both, and arrive at a conclusion where everyone has contributed to the resolution.”
Returning to the conflict you thought of at the beginning, what would be the best way to manage it? With complacency, confrontation, communication, coordination, cooperation, or collaboration? Maybe the next step would be talking to a trusted friend, mentor, or coach about your situation if you’re not quite ready to jump in today. The good news is that one size doesn’t fit all situations, and with the help of the Holy Spirit you can discern and grow in how to manage conflict . . . which leads to healthier individuals (you), families and teams (your small systems), and organizations and communities (go big or go home, right?!).
Needing to help your TCKs manage the added stress the pandemic is bringing? This month’s workshop is still on the 50% discount price. (Though geared for kids, this one is good for all! Also, join the Global Trellis Private Facebook Group to live more fully into the rhythm of soul tending and skill building)