5 Tips to Resolve Conflict + bonus content
Fact: Conflict is inevitable in every organization.
Left unresolved, it can damage relationships, disrupt a workplace culture, and weaken your ministry impact.
How can you avoid this? Consider these five, proven tips of conflict resolution in the workplace that lead to new understanding, agreement, and trust.
Before engaging in conflict resolution, ask yourself these two questions:
- “What is my personal communication style?”(Assertive? Straightforward? Win-win?)
Now, ask yourself:
- “What is my conflict style?” (Avoidance? Victim mentality? Passive-aggressive? Win at all costs?) Increased self-awareness on both levels can help you create a productive approach to conflict that is responsibly direct.
2) Pause (and pray)
There’s wisdom in the old adage, “First, count to ten.” When we’re angry or stressed, our best thoughts are crowded out, and our thinking isn’t sharp. Bob Hostetler writes in Guideposts:
:If you’ve ever read much in the Psalms, the prayerbook and hymnal of ancient Israel, you’ve come across a word that gives many Bible scholars pause. Literally. The word is ‘selah.’ It occurs frequently in the Psalms. . . .Whatever ‘selah’ meant to ancient Israelites, it can be a part of your prayer life. You can turn pauses into prayer.”
A pause moment, and your prayer, offers you the gift to reflect and consider:
- What really happened?
- What was my part in the conflict?
- What could God be teaching me?
- Is there a Scripture that addresses my situation?
- What could be the other person’s reason for disagreeing?
- What would it look like to either confront, extend grace—or do both?
The tipping point of successful conflict resolution is to ask yourself, “Am I able to make a deliberate decision to forgive the other person, even if they created significant losses and grief in my life?” This is an opportunity for you to make sure God has spoken into the conflict.
4) Reach out
True resolution comes to life as you take responsibility for your part in the conflict and listen to the other party: “I know you’re upset, and I’m ready to apologize if you’re ready to talk about this.” Be mindful that the other person may need more time to process the situation. Be patient. More than hoping to be understood, seek to understand the other person.
Leaders are stewards of their organizations. In light of our inevitable workplace disagreements, stewardship demands we address conflict head-on. May we have the courage to be open to the question James asks: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” (James 4:1). Our answer can strengthen our resolve to seek and submit to the One “who yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” (James 4:5).
7 Wise Insights for Resolving Conflict
“In almost every process or seeming conflict, there’s always the potential for resolution. In fact, resolution is what God intended for all of creation.”
Chief Culture Officer, Slingshot Group
“The ability to manage difficult conversations effectively is foundational to achieving any significant change.”
Harvard Business School Lecturer,
Best-Selling Author, Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most
“At its core, listening is an act of love that helps bring people together. Good listening can create new mutual understanding needed to resolve conflict and advance a ministry’s kingdom outcomes.”
“Fantastic teams create consensus, direction, and momentum to establish, grow, and sustain a flourishing culture. Such teams are never about ‘me’ but rather about the ‘we’ needed to achieve an organization’s shared goals.”
Regional Director, BCWI
“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”
“So, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
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