Root and Fruit of Behavior

Last time I wrote about the importance of conflict resolution and how confrontation is going to happen. It’s a good thing if we’re intentional about it and treat people with love. The next step as a leader is to recognize that often times we are confronting a symptom to the real issue…an issue stemming from deep wounds of the heart.

I referenced a story at the ELP Summit & Staff Day, remember that man in Teen Challenge that was eating dinner after a long day of work and study reading his mail? The one that burst into a fit of rage upon opening a letter from his wife. Curse words, tables and chairs being tossed around angrily…picture that…it’s at that point as a leader we make a choice on how to best handle that person. Do you match their level of aggression and demand respect? Or do you ask yourself the important questions like; was the food just that bad? Did their football team lose? There is an obvious behavioral issue here, but what’s really going on? The important question to ask yourself is, what is going on inside that person and what does he need from me at this moment – confrontation or love?

He just received life altering news and doesn’t need confrontation, he needs your understanding and love. You can teach him how to respond to hard things and confront him on his behavior, but in that moment he needs to know nothing but that the Father loves him and sees his pain.

John Maxwell uses this diagram to show there are surface habits and behaviors that give us a window into the heart of the real issues at play. He argues that ultimately, it all stems from an issue with self-worth. If you believe you have no value, you will naturally find unhealthy ways to compensate for it.

I heard another story recently of a staff member who went to his leader and wanted to release a student that continued to have behavioral issues. The staff was very upset that the student would call himself a Christian and still cause the problems he was. The leader responded with a simple thought, “That’s why he’s here!” You see, we as leaders and stewards of this great call to give hope to hurting people, cannot be surprised when students don’t react as they should, or outbursts happen. It may demand more effort for us at that moment, but how you respond in those moments as a leader will speak to that student for years to come. Did you respond with love and understanding? Did you confront with love? Or did you throw a discipline at him and kick him out?

Don’t get me wrong, I am for boundaries and use them to guide and direct people towards a disciplined life before God on a regular basis. However, I would like to challenge us as leaders to always be mindful that discipline is only beneficial if it’s pointing people back to Christ. If not, we are training people to act right, not be right. That’s behavioral change and it only lasts for a short season. We want to be people that speak to the root of the issue and guide people towards healing and a life in Christ.

This week, identify that person who is a consistent source of conflict and diagnose the need. Do they need to be confronted? Or do they need to be loved on? As leaders we must rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom to see these times as opportunities to guide someone towards Christ whether through healthy confrontation or blessing them.

Article by: Dustin Nance – Divisional Leader, Training and Hope Outreach – TCSE

Conflict Resolution

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!

Conflict Resolution

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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:

  1. Re-Direct people as soon as possible.
  2. Confirm the facts first, and review the mistake together—be specific.
  3. Express how you feel about the mistake and it’s impact on results.
  4. Pause – be quiet for a moment to allow people time to feel concerned about what they’ve done.
  5. Remember to let them know that they’re better than their mistakes, and that you think well of them as a person.
  6. Remind them that you have confidence and trust in them, and support their success.
  7. 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