Ministry can get messy—because people are messy. It’s not a question of if conflict will ever happen in your ministry teams, but how will you handle it when it happens.
Conflict triggers many strong emotions which can lead to hurt feelings, disappointment, and resentment. Unresolved conflict often results in team members racing for the door.
HELPGUIDE.org, a resource for non-profits, offers these four suggestions for successful conflict resolution:
Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm. By staying calm, you can accurately read and interpret verbal and nonverbal communication. Those crossed arms and frown may not be a good sign!
Control your emotions and behavior. When you’re in control of your emotions, you can communicate your needs without threatening, frightening, or punishing others.
Pay attention to the feelings being expressed as well as the spoken words of others. Feelings are often hidden below the surface and only come out when they’re ready to explode.
Be aware of and respectful of differences. By avoiding disrespectful words and actions, you can almost always resolve a problem faster.
Learn and practice these core skills to understand how to deal with conflict—rather than avoiding it.
[Editor’s Note: Defusing difficult conversations and other conflict management skills are taught in the course, Becoming An Equipping Leader, offered this fall at Group’s Equipping Institute.]