Given the chance or choice many of us would rather avoid conflict or potentially tension filled situations. I recently heard former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice state that she liked to engage in spirited dialogue in conflict type situations. Of course as the Secretary of State, with a nation full of resources that have your back, she can say that with great ease.
But what about the rest of us who do not have a national security and defense force standing ready to defend our side of a battle?
It helps to have a good understanding about to handle, not avoid, a negative situation. Here are a few things you can do to better work your way through conflict.
Know your style. Everyone is wired differently when it comes to conflict. That’s why it’s important to know who you are and your natural response to conflict. There are tools to help with this. Once you know about your natural response to conflict you will be better prepared to handle yourself, your language, and body language in potentially negative conversations or moments.
Know the style of those around you and know their style may be different from yours. Actually, it is highly likely that their conflict style is completely different. You should get to know the conflict management styles of those on your team.
Do not fear the conflict. It might seem scary at the time but we have to trust in God and trust He will intervene and help us navigate through difficult times. We also have God’s words to us in Matthew 18. His words are instructions to us about the biblical approach to conflict. Use them. Pray over them to provide peace in the storms of conflict.
Have a plan for reasonable, desired outcomes. Pray about and think through what a reasonable solution for those involved may look like. It may not be pretty or perfect, but be open to all possible solutions and resolutions.
Finally, get help. You don’t have to handle conflict alone. Talk with a trusted accountability partner or someone who can help you process what is happening and process possible solutions. Don’t approach this from the mediator, recorded, legalistic point of view, but talk with someone who can help you find a resolution for those involved using biblical worldviews and spiritual formation practices or principles.
Finally, finally, pause and pray. Before going off in a bad direction in conversations, emails, or face to face meetings know it’s okay to just take a time out and pray. Pray with and for the people involved. Ask God to intervene in the moment.
Any thing else you would add to this list in order to help others better handle conflict?