November 14, 2022

Communication Resolves Conflict

If you are a leader, you are regularly facing conflict. We all deal with conflict daily and if we don’t resolve conflict, it can quickly snowball into a larger crisis. Most importantly, conflict is an opportunity to turn a difficult relationship or situation into a breakthrough that will lead to deeper flourishing for everyone involved.

To be able to lead through conflict to flourishing, we must know ourselves and those we lead in deep and meaningful ways.

Self Awareness

Amy Gallo — contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast, and author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) — recently shared two incredibly insightful facts about how our brains operate in conflict.

Our brain perceives conflict as a threat. Our brain doesn’t do a good job of distinguishing between a small threat, like someone rolling their eyes at us, and a big threat, like being chased down by a bear. We often don’t make good choices in those moments because, in fight or flight mode, there’s really two options: I can shut down, or I can be aggressive. The goal, then, is to try to calm the brain down so that it doesn’t feel threatened, so that you can make rational choices about how to handle that relationship.
Our brains are meaning-making creatures. We are quick to tell ourselves stories. And in those stories, we often cast ourselves as the hero and the other person as the villain because it’s an easy shortcut. It’s an easy trope, but it’s often not the full story. — Amy Gallo on Author Talks with McKinsey, Turn your work enemies into allies.

Self Communication

Amy’s first insight helps us see how vital it is to slow down when we recognize potential conflicts and understand when our brain is escalating based on real or perceived threats. When we are self aware, we talk to ourselves and take time to slow down — starting with self checks about who we are and the deepest reality of a situation. When we talk with ourselves, we are more readily able to rely on the core truths we know and this allows us to shift back into leadership mode — caring for those around us.

Amy’s second insight helps us see something that is at the very core of our fallen human nature — we think it’s all about us, and we think we are the hero. The hero and/or victim mindset wants revenge and retribution. When we are aware of this tendency, we can talk to ourselves and recognize that we are more than the hero or the victim. This allows us to stop, reassess, and thoughtfully consider the needs of those we lead.

Communicate From Disaster To Flourishing

Knowing our own human tendencies is a great place to start. Yet, as leaders we see beyond our temporary needs and realize we have the capacity to lead many of the situations we face from conflict to resolution, and then to enable ongoing flourishing for all parties.

Leaders can’t do it alone and must be prepared. Leaders need to be guided by wisdom to lead in difficult situations; leaders who follow Jesus have a distinct advantage in every conflict they face.

Here are four well established steps for crisis (disaster or common conflict) management. These steps, when directed by God’s word, can help us avoid, mitigate, and resolve the situations we face.

1. Mitigation — actions taken to prevent or reduce the consequences of disasters.

When we know ourselves and the people we lead, we must understand what causes conflict. Surrendering our desires, seeking God’s will and communicating with others to help them do the same will mitigate — even eliminate — most conflict.

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have it because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." - James 4:1-3

2. Preparedness — planning, training, and communication implemented in advance of disaster events that cannot be entirely mitigated.

Those who follow Jesus have a mission that understands crisis and conflict are part of their work. They also know that people made by God are not the enemy. They constantly prepare others to handle conflict by always communicating in a way that helps others know that people are never our enemy — no matter what mistakes they make.

"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." - Ephesians 6:10-13

3. Response — assisting affected populations in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Again, we must know who we are, the One to rely on, pray for clarity to see the needs of others, and act for their benefit. Paul modeled this so well in prison with Silas in Philippi. Their death could have been imminent, yet they prayed and sang hymns in the middle of the night. God responded with an earthquake, and this miracle caused Paul and Silas to become so sure of God’s power and care for them that they were able to attend to the needs of the guard in charge of keeping them in prison — instead of immediately fleeing for their own safety.

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.But Paul shouted, “Don't harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved---you and your household.” - Acts 16:26-31

4. Recovery — restoration efforts, typically following a disaster.

Our recovery and restoration efforts should focus on the long-term — eternal flourishing for all — because we know the rest of the story. God was not surprised when Adam and Eve failed in their first conflict with evil. God had a plan, and He knew He was sending His Son before he made the earth (1 Peter 1:20). He knew a little child would lead them (Isaiah 11:6), and that He would save His people and make all things new.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children." - Revelation 21:3-7

To lead we must remember that the world's biggest conflict has been solved, paid for, and finished! This provides leaders that follow Jesus the grace and power to act in faith to lead every conflict we face with great hope of resolution.

Join us this week to discuss the specific scenarios we are facing and learn how to solve them together.

Links

Leaders Make Peace

Lead Conflict For Good

Turn Your Work Enemies Into Allies

Share this post
Howard Graham
Howard Graham
Executive Director

If you are a leader, you are regularly facing conflict. We all deal with conflict daily and if we don’t resolve conflict, it can quickly snowball into a larger crisis. Most importantly, conflict is an opportunity to turn a difficult relationship or situation into a breakthrough that will lead to deeper flourishing for everyone involved.

To be able to lead through conflict to flourishing, we must know ourselves and those we lead in deep and meaningful ways.

Self Awareness

Amy Gallo — contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast, and author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) — recently shared two incredibly insightful facts about how our brains operate in conflict.

Our brain perceives conflict as a threat. Our brain doesn’t do a good job of distinguishing between a small threat, like someone rolling their eyes at us, and a big threat, like being chased down by a bear. We often don’t make good choices in those moments because, in fight or flight mode, there’s really two options: I can shut down, or I can be aggressive. The goal, then, is to try to calm the brain down so that it doesn’t feel threatened, so that you can make rational choices about how to handle that relationship.
Our brains are meaning-making creatures. We are quick to tell ourselves stories. And in those stories, we often cast ourselves as the hero and the other person as the villain because it’s an easy shortcut. It’s an easy trope, but it’s often not the full story. — Amy Gallo on Author Talks with McKinsey, Turn your work enemies into allies.

Self Communication

Amy’s first insight helps us see how vital it is to slow down when we recognize potential conflicts and understand when our brain is escalating based on real or perceived threats. When we are self aware, we talk to ourselves and take time to slow down — starting with self checks about who we are and the deepest reality of a situation. When we talk with ourselves, we are more readily able to rely on the core truths we know and this allows us to shift back into leadership mode — caring for those around us.

Amy’s second insight helps us see something that is at the very core of our fallen human nature — we think it’s all about us, and we think we are the hero. The hero and/or victim mindset wants revenge and retribution. When we are aware of this tendency, we can talk to ourselves and recognize that we are more than the hero or the victim. This allows us to stop, reassess, and thoughtfully consider the needs of those we lead.

Communicate From Disaster To Flourishing

Knowing our own human tendencies is a great place to start. Yet, as leaders we see beyond our temporary needs and realize we have the capacity to lead many of the situations we face from conflict to resolution, and then to enable ongoing flourishing for all parties.

Leaders can’t do it alone and must be prepared. Leaders need to be guided by wisdom to lead in difficult situations; leaders who follow Jesus have a distinct advantage in every conflict they face.

Here are four well established steps for crisis (disaster or common conflict) management. These steps, when directed by God’s word, can help us avoid, mitigate, and resolve the situations we face.

1. Mitigation — actions taken to prevent or reduce the consequences of disasters.

When we know ourselves and the people we lead, we must understand what causes conflict. Surrendering our desires, seeking God’s will and communicating with others to help them do the same will mitigate — even eliminate — most conflict.

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have it because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." - James 4:1-3

2. Preparedness — planning, training, and communication implemented in advance of disaster events that cannot be entirely mitigated.

Those who follow Jesus have a mission that understands crisis and conflict are part of their work. They also know that people made by God are not the enemy. They constantly prepare others to handle conflict by always communicating in a way that helps others know that people are never our enemy — no matter what mistakes they make.

"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." - Ephesians 6:10-13

3. Response — assisting affected populations in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Again, we must know who we are, the One to rely on, pray for clarity to see the needs of others, and act for their benefit. Paul modeled this so well in prison with Silas in Philippi. Their death could have been imminent, yet they prayed and sang hymns in the middle of the night. God responded with an earthquake, and this miracle caused Paul and Silas to become so sure of God’s power and care for them that they were able to attend to the needs of the guard in charge of keeping them in prison — instead of immediately fleeing for their own safety.

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.But Paul shouted, “Don't harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved---you and your household.” - Acts 16:26-31

4. Recovery — restoration efforts, typically following a disaster.

Our recovery and restoration efforts should focus on the long-term — eternal flourishing for all — because we know the rest of the story. God was not surprised when Adam and Eve failed in their first conflict with evil. God had a plan, and He knew He was sending His Son before he made the earth (1 Peter 1:20). He knew a little child would lead them (Isaiah 11:6), and that He would save His people and make all things new.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children." - Revelation 21:3-7

To lead we must remember that the world's biggest conflict has been solved, paid for, and finished! This provides leaders that follow Jesus the grace and power to act in faith to lead every conflict we face with great hope of resolution.

Join us this week to discuss the specific scenarios we are facing and learn how to solve them together.

Links

Leaders Make Peace

Lead Conflict For Good

Turn Your Work Enemies Into Allies

Subscribe to email updates.

Sign up to receive resources and weekly updates.