Most of us hate conflict. But learning to respond to conflict in a healthy way is a key to our growth as a leader. Ken Sande, in his book, “The Peacemaker,” says, “As you evaluate your role in a conflict, it is helpful to clearly define the issues that separate you from other people. Conflicts generally involve two kinds of issues: material and personal.
It is important for all leaders to learn to face conflict and confront issues in a healthy, biblical way. Stephen M. R. Covey in his book, “The Speed of Trust,” writes, “Whenever you fail to deal with the real issues for any reason, people tend to see you in one of two ways: They see you as lacking in character (you’re not open or honest, not being transparent, not talking straight) or lacking in competence (you’re clueless, naïve, incompetent; you don’t even know what the real issues are). Either way, it doesn’t inspire trust.” This is well said.
Trust is imperative to have to become an effective leader. And trust is built when we face conflict biblically by humbling ourselves and openly discussing the area of conflict with the person involved rather than talking to someone else who is not a part of the problem or the solution. The Bible calls talking to someone else who is not a part of the problem or the solution the sin of gossip.
If the disagreement cannot be resolved, receive help from an objective, trusted outsider. God is a God of restoration, and the goal of any conflict is always restoration. If a leadership team finds themselves at an impasse, an objective outsider, preferably a trusted spiritual advisor can be brought in to help resolve the issue. Every person who has authority needs to be under authority. A conflict between leaders that cannot be resolved goes to the leaders who give them oversight. They have the God-given authority and grace to bring resolution. That’s why the bible tells us to “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit” (Hebrews 13:17).