Conflict isn’t always bad. In fact, it’s often a catalyst for growth.
High-capacity leaders have a tendency to create friction with one another. Yet if a leader stewards this type of tension, it has the potential to lead to new growth in the organization.
But let’s be real here and say that human beings are emotional creatures. Somebody will always be getting mad about something. There are many leaders who avoid conflict entirely because they have never observed a healthy way to enter into healthy conflict.
If you plan to lead in a church, you must embrace the reality that there will be real emotions connected to the conflict. This doesn’t mean you should go looking for conflict, nor does it give conflict prone individuals the right to pick fights with each other. It simply means that as we live and work in peace with one another, we must be ready for anger and hurt feelings.
The question is this: how do we process our anger? Do we have a process for keeping “short accounts” with one another to keep the leadership team healthy? You need a plan for how you and your team will work through conflict. Conflict is coming. It’s inevitable. Do you have a plan?
To dive deeper in this topic, I suggest three resources.
My book of course, Minding His Business, is a great example of how I handle conflict.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes Are High
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
All three provide a great framework to do conflict well, and avoid the potholes of anger and bitterness.
May God give you courage to embrace and step into the difficult conversations in your life and your ministry.