Welcome to The SHAPE of a Leader. I write this blog with the SHAPE leadership development program (for women pastors) I lead in mind, but it is for all who are interested in leadership, faith, and the intersection of the two.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Leading through Conflict

Most of the time, we aren't hired to rock the boat.  But progress isn't made without change, and change doesn't happen without conflict.  Conflict is a topic we dig into a lot in leadership development.  As I prepare to lead a conflict workshop later this week, I'm thinking about a few key tenants to remember about conflict:
  1. Significant change doesn't happen without conflict. Be willing to step into it carefully.
  2. Healthy conflict is that which is centered on ideas and progress and a healthy outcome; dysfunctional conflict attacks people and is often about the emotions of the person doing the attacking.
  3. There is always another perspective and our first job is to listen to what that perspective is.
  4. Different styles of conflict call for different approaches to resolution.  
  5. Most people have a "default" conflict style - it will work well in those situations that call for that style - a leader's job is to expand their comfort zone into different styles, so that they can "call up" different styles when necessary.
  6. We all have triggers that set us off emotionally.  Understand yours.
  7. Likewise, understand what reduces your stress, and make an increased commitment to those things during heavy conflict.
  8. Remember the desired outcome everyday. Resist losing yourself in the much of the conflict itself.
  9. Find a trusted, confidential place where you can be vulnerable, and lay bare your anxieties, fears, and hopes.
  10. Finally, remember that God is in the middle of conflict.  Ask, where is God in the midst of this? What is God doing?

Conflict is an opportunity...  good luck with it!