Are you in the middle of a conflict that seems to be escalating? (211-5)
Conflict management can take on many forms. Read John 8:48-59.
As His public ministry was nearing an end, the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees became more frequent and more divisive. In today’s scriptures the words exchanged between Jesus and the Pharisees were very pointed as Jesus stood toe-to-toe with those who desired to discredit Him.
Sometimes the best way to deal with a conflict is to face it head-on. As with Jesus and the Pharisees, there may come a time when you fully understand a conflict will never be settled peacefully. In those cases, further softened dialog will not manage the conflict but only deepens the positions of those involved and continues to negatively impact and polarize the whole team with its poison. When conflict management gets to this point it generally means a parting of the ways either during the direct discussions or in the not too distant future. Even for Jesus this happened. Verse 59 says, “At this, they (the Pharisees) picked up stones to stone Him…”
A few suggestions for the times when you must deal with conflict head-on and toe-to-toe:
- Don’t rush to this step unless there is no peaceful way to resolve an issue. This may appear to be the quickest solution and less painful than working through issues but head-on confrontation will carry with it some ongoing ramifications within your team.
- Be sure you understand both positions and the primary points of conflict.
- Evaluate your own personal motives.
- Have your facts straight. Any fact that can be questioned removes the focus from the primary issues and defuses the effect of the head-on confrontation.
- Make your points in short statements without commentary unless required by the opposition to clarify your position.
- Don’t be naïve. Some on your team may agree with the other side and may not agree with the head-on approach. Think through how you will handle this area before you start the process.
- Be aware of legal ramifications before you open this door. Words and actions taken in these head-on confrontations may have the potential to lead to lawsuits.
- Seek counsel from a trusted advisor before you decide this is the only option.
- Once the facts are in place and the decision is made don’t delay or find excuses that will keep you from completing the process.
Are you in the middle of a conflict that seems to be escalating? Have you run out of options to peacefully manage the conflict? Even Jesus, the only perfect leader to ever live, had to come to a decision that a head-on, toe-to-toe, confrontation was necessary with the Pharisees. The wise leader does not avoid managing conflict but uses this direct head-on approach as a last resort or with specific individuals who will only respond to this style of management.
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
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