Whenever I think of conflict resolution I go back to my many hours of management training…watching “The Office”! There’s an episode where the manager, Michael Scott, takes the HR Manual and decides to resolve a major conflict in the office. Oscar and Angelia are in conflict over a poster that Angelia has up. It’s a picture of babies playing in a jazz band. Oscar finds it offensive and believes it should be taken down, however Angelia loves it and wants to see it every day. Michael steps in, being the great manager that he is, and decides to resolve this in one of the 6 models presented in the HR Manual. He chooses the Win, Win Win model, this is the one where all parties win including the moderator. He saves the day by making Oscar wear a t-shirt with the image on it so he doesn’t have to see it and Angelia can see it all day!
While I would not suggest this as a model or resolution to issues like this in your area of influence, I would suggest taking on conflict resolution and confrontation with his intentionality in this episode. Generally speaking, people do not enjoy conflict or confrontation, however it is a necessary part of leadership.
While preparing for the Summit/Staff Days I have been reading through John Maxwell’s EQUIP teaching on “Leading When Times are Tough”. One of the topics challenges us on the fact that confrontation is biblical and gives multiple examples found in scripture. (II Corinthians 10:4-5; I Thessalonians 5:14; II Timothy 4:2-4; Colossians 1:28; Titus 1:13)
He states “your goal is to see them transformed by the power of God…not condemnation, but restoration”. Those we lead need to know that we love them, but need to know that we love truth more than anything!
I have taken a few of Maxwell’s Steps Toward Effective Confrontation and condensed them for you:
- Pray through your own anger and initiate the contact.
- Don’t let emotion lead you. Wait until you’re objective, but deal with the issue before they become too big.
- Don’t wait for them, scripture beckons you t make things right whether you are the offender or the offended person.
- Explain what you have seen and/or heard and how you understand it.
- Bring up the issue, and explain you don’t understand what’s happened.
- The meeting may be more of a clarification than a confrontation. Give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to explain themselves.
- It’s important to not attribute motives in this step, make this meeting a “fact finding meeting” initially.
- Listen and allow them to respond.
- You must stop and allow them to respond. They may present a new perspective that will help you both.
- They may also throw up on you, listen anyway.
- Establish forgiveness and repentance, if necessary.
- Connect the issue you are correcting with who they are in Christ. Don’t conclude the meeting until forgiveness is extended and issues are clear and resolved.
- Pray and affirm you appreciation as you close your time together.
- Always close these times with prayer. Give them hope, and remind them od their place in God’s heart and yours; help them never to question that they are loved.
Another good example of how to walk through confrontation is found in Ken Blanchard’s “The New One Minute Manager”. He calls it a One Minute Re-Direct and it breaks down like this:
- Re-Direct people as soon as possible.
- Confirm the facts first, and review the mistake together—be specific.
- Express how you feel about the mistake and it’s impact on results.
- Pause – be quiet for a moment to allow people time to feel concerned about what they’ve done.
- Remember to let them know that they’re better than their mistakes, and that you think well of them as a person.
- Remind them that you have confidence and trust in them, and support their success.
- Realize that when the Re-Direct is over, it’s over.
For me, one of the most powerful points of both of these methods for confrontation is the fact finding meeting. I am a leader that naturally assumes people’s motives and this step has helped me slow down and explain how I see the situation and ask what actually happened. Sometimes I have been right and me slowing down allowed the person to see their wrong doing and repent. Other times I have been wrong and it was a good thing I did not come into the meeting swinging and making accusations.
Confrontation is going to happen in any healthy organization and it certainly happens in Teen Challenge. I challenge you as leaders to be as intentional as possible when approaching these conversations. You have the opportunity to correct and build people up as an important part of the body of Christ or tear people down and leave them in your wake.
Article by: Dustin Nance, DL of Training & Hope Outreach