Conflict Resolution – How Leaders Create Healthy Culture

Tips for conflict resolution in the workplace. Ways leaders can help create a healthy organizational culture.

We all value great relationships. When we disagree, things don’t feel so great. But conflict is to be expected. It’s a normal part of relationships and organizations. Here are some guidelines that can help us resolve conflict in a constructive way . . . and ultimately create a healthy organizational culture.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: PREVENT CONFLICT BEFORE IT BEGINS

  • Keep short accounts: Each time we interact with another person we either make a deposit or a withdrawal from our relational account with them. Deposits come from caring or helping someone. Withdrawals happen when there are betrayals, dishonesty or uncaring actions. Keeping short accounts mean that we are aware of where we stand with others . . . and commit to keeping a positive balance in our relational accounts with them. Further, we agree (mutually, in advance) that when concerns arise, we will share those concerns directly with the other person. This creates a safe place for people to solve problems. It fosters mutual respect and prevents offenses from piling up.
  • Set up systems for ongoing communication: Many times conflict comes from a lack of communication . . . because there is no regular forum to go over things. Set up regular times to meet with your teammates. Discuss future happenings, review current plans and possible challenges. Having a system increases communication and greatly reduces the chances of relational problems.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: HOW TO HANDLE CONFLICT WHEN IT HAPPENS

  • First, go directly to the person in private. Say that you have a concern and ask for their permission to discuss it. Calmly and directly dialog about the issue and how it affects you and the organization. Separate the problem from the person. Review the facts first to ensure you both understand what has happened. Brainstorm solutions and agree on one that works for everybody. It takes courage to have these conversations. However, being direct is what solves most problems. More than anything this is what “keeps the air clear”.
  • If the direct approach fails, it’s time to involve another person. Talk things over with your supervisor or a trusted senior leader. Remember, the organization can’t help you solve a problem if it doesn’t know the problem exists.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: WHAT NOT TO DO – AVOID THESE RELATIONSHIP BREAKERS

  • Don’t approach someone in anger. Give yourself a few hours to calm down and collect your thoughts.
  • Don’t ignore conflict. Trouble only intensifies when it is ignored. Resolve problems on the same day that they happen, if possible.
  • Don’t “triangulate” by asking another person to solve your problem before you try. As mentioned before, go directly to the individual with which you have the challenge. On the flip-side . . . If someone asks you to solve their problem, first ask if they have gone directly to the individual with whom there is a problem. If they have not, send them to that individual before getting involved yourself.
  • Don’t “forum shop”. Avoid bringing your problem to several people hoping one will give you an easy way out.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Don’t air your concern in social media.
  • Don’t collect offenses. With time, an unresolved conflict becomes a grudge. With still more time, the details of that grudge become forgotten and only the ill will remains. At that point it is very difficult to reconcile a relationship.

GearAs leaders, we are to encourage a culture where people fight for relationship. One of the best ways to encourage relationship among your team is to promote healthy conflict resolution. It’s worth the effort!

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CONFLICT RESOLUTION TIPS ON VIDEO

This is a great teaching that I use as part of our staff training:

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5 Critically Important Things To Know About People Outside The Church Today

What you should know about people who are outside the church and do not attend church services.

Orange Blog Rob CizekImagine going to a conference and only hearing the best presentations. That’s what we are able to do with great notes. In this case, the notes come from @CherylKneeland. Cheryl took notes at Carey Nieuwhof’s excellent presentation on unchurched people (presented at this year’s Orange Tour). Here are five things we should all know about people in our culture.

5 CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH

Presented by @cnieuwhof, Orange Tour 2014

A growing number of people are saying “no” to church.

It used to be pretty easy to break down the walls, but it’s more difficult than ever to connect with unchurched people. It’s not just hostility anymore, it’s indifference.

Among 18-34 year olds, 63% said they have no interest in ever having a conversation with anyone involved in church. They are indifferent to us.

Many people have learned to live comfortably without God. They think it’s fine to have no church in the community. There is an entire culture that has learned to be successful by turning its back on God.

5 Characteristics of People Outside the Church Today

1. They feel less guilty than you think. People just don’t feel guilty anymore. The average person will feel as guilty about not attending church on Sundays as you feel about not attending synagogue on Saturdays. They don’t think about it. It’s not on their radar.

There are a lot of people that haven’t left your church, they just don’t attend very often (maybe just once a year) and they don’t feel guilty about it. If you are relying on GUILT as a motivator, good luck. Guilt is a short-term motivator. Guilt is seeing its final days as a motivator to get people to attend church.

2. People can’t come back to something they never knew. We have assumed for years that people will be back to church when they have kids, but it’s not true. Revivals are dead, they have stopped working in many places. Revival means that you’ve had something that was alive, but is now dead. However, many of these people have nothing to revive. They don’t know the Bible. If your curriculum is based on a story that you’re assuming they know, it’s not going to work. Assume that everyone is starting at step one. Create a discipleship path that keeps going. Maturity takes time and you have to be willing to give people time.

3. Most people are spiritual. One of the things unchurched people tell us is that the church believes that people who don’t go to church are not spiritual. But that’s simply not true. If you build your approach around the belief that people who don’t attend your church don’t believe, you’ll offend them. They absolutely believe, they may not know what they believe, but they believe something.

Early Rome was a very religious empire. Athens was religious, they just weren’t Christian. Your starting point with unchurched people is very important. We typically start with theology. And something inside of us sometimes gets upset when they don’t have all the theology figured out.

What if you responded to their questions with, “That’s very interesting, tell me more.”? Listen to them. Lifestyle issues, sexual identity, sex outside of marriage, sexual ethics. If you start there, how do those conversations usually go? They never go well.

Jesus never started with theology, He started with ministry. Look at the Samaritan woman, look at everyone he talked to. Jesus changed people’s lives because he started with ministry NOT theology. He asks people to come alongside Him. Just come on, hang out. Over a number of years, that group of outsiders is transformed. The Pharisees started with theology. The religious people started with what was wrong, Jesus started with people.

4. Unchurched people expect authenticity in leaders. They just want real. They want to know that sometimes when you pray, you think you’re talking to the ceiling. It’s just the number of times that I felt God was present in my prayers far outweighs the times I felt I was talking to the ceiling.

When you’re authentic and transparent, instead of talking at people you walk alongside people. You look at God’s word together. People admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weaknesses. When you speak out of your weaknesses, people feel like they get you. . . that they could hang out with you.

5. Unchurched people are looking for partners. They are:

> Looking for what to experience next.
> Looking for people that don’t know all the answers and who can be an empathetic mentor.
> Looking for people in the same place (peers).
> Looking for family.
> Looking for swim lessons, preschools, peers, partners…

The reality is that they don’t think that the church can help. What if your church was known as the premier place to go to when you have children… the best place to raise kids of faith and character? What if we start convincing them that the church can help?

So What Can We Do?

1. Say YES to friendship. How many unchurched people do you know? We need to be intentional. We need to do some things to get in the lives of unchurched people.

2. Say YES to dialogue. What about real dialogue, what about real faith? Monologues just don’t do that. People need someone to talk to, someone to hear their story.

3. Say YES to change. It’s hard. Even though God doesn’t change, we should. What do we need to do differently today in order to reach the people you want tomorrow? If you experiment you open up the door to more potential.

Take a few minutes today to think about church like an unchurched person would. Based on what you see, give yourself permission to do things differently. This is how we better connect people to God and how we stay relevant.


 

How To Develop The Next Generation Of Leaders

This week I am blogging from #OC14, The Orange Conference in Atlanta. Orange is a gathering of thousands of church leaders, with an emphasis on senior leadership, children’s ministry leadership and student ministry leadership. I am highlighting some of the best material from the Orange senior leadership track. Below are the highlights from Jeff Henderson’s thoughtful session on growing leaders.

Think of a person who helped you grow as a leader. What was the most memorable thing they did?

Most people will answer with, “They were patient with me” or “They allowed me to learn from failure.” Another common answer is, “They spent time with me.”

No matter what our mentors did, there is one common thread: someone took an active interest in our growth.

One of the most important (but never urgent) tasks of a leader is replacing yourself. It is important to note, however, that you replace yourself by developing others, not replicating yourself.

After Walt Disney’s death, there was a saying at the Disney company. “What would Walt do?” was the question everyone would ask, hoping to keep the founder’s spirit alive. While this may have been done with the best of intentions, it was a terrible thing for the staff. It stiffeled innovation and bound the company to the past.

Take the story of John Lasseter. He was a young animator at Disney. He brought fresh ideas that didn’t fit the traditional Disney model. He was let go. Then Lasseter joined an upstart company called Pixar. He innovated the movie “Toy Story” and the computer animation that we all know today. John Lasseter and Pixar went on to great success. Old-school Disney Animation withered to a shadow of its once glorious self. Pixar and Disney would eventually merge, with John Lasseter as its president. The lesson: don’t try to replicate yourself. Develop promising leaders so they can lead from their own strengths.

If emerging leaders aren’t sure which direction God would have them go, help them look for God’s thumbprints on their lives. God’s thumbprints are clues as to his plan for our lives.

WHAT IS YOUR STAFF CULTURE?

Develop leaders by creating a great culture and recruiting great people.

If you don’t have a good staff culture, your church isn’t going to work. Many church cultures aren’t healthy. We should have such loving, joyful staffs that those qualities flow through the entire church.

Leaders, ask yourself, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?” “How am I to work for?” This will give you insight into your own leadership. You can also ask your leaders that same question.

The issue of staff loyalty can be a negative in church cultures. If you have to ask for loyalty there is a problem with your leadership. Great leaders never have to demand loyalty.

Hiring well is essential to having a quality staff culture. During inital screening, ask each candidate the following four quetions:

> What are your 5 strengths?

> Who are you learning from?

> What is your ideal job description?

> What is your favorite organization?

Gwinnett Church emails these four questions to all applicants early in the hiring process. The questions take time and effort to answer. Many candidates do not respond. This weeds out the weaker applicants. The candidates who do respond tend to be the stronger ones.

For an example of church culture, Jeff Henderson likes to share the definition they have at Gwinnett Church: “We want to create a staff culture of fun-loving, emotionally-intelligent people who are passionate about leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We will do this by building great teams, delivering WOW through service, focusing on outsiders and prioritizing personal and professional growth.”

HELPING NEXT GENERATION LEADERS WIN

Here are some tips for grooming promising leaders:

> Recruit amazing people and get out of their way.

> Don’t think of yourself as a director. Be a coach. Ask questions rather than give direction. Provide the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes. Be the ‘question-man’, not the ‘answer-man.’

> Do life with your staff. Being authentic and vulnerable means your staff knows who you really are. It carries some obvious risks. However, the benefit of working with true friends outweighs the risk.

What things do you do to help grow emerging leaders? Leave a comment below.

 

 

This information was presented at the national Orange Conference #OC14. Click here for more information on Orange.

Orange Conference 2014