Do you know how to resolve conflict?

On my leadership journey there have been so many LIFE and leadership lessons. One of the biggest epiphanies is when you realize that every failure,  problem and or conflict is a chance to learn and get better. We have all been created equal in the fact that we are imperfect, unreasonable and sometimes unbearable. I say this with love and pointing directly at myself as the best example of this! I love this poem about people:

Lessons for life

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.Conflict resolution
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

— Dr. Kent M. Keith

This poem makes it clear that where there are people there will be problems, the key is learning how to resolve the conflict that they create. In Orrin Woodward’s book Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life he covers in detail the art of conflict resolution. “Whether leading a business, church or charitable organization, the ability to resolve conflict is essential.” I encourage you to pick up this book and study this chapter, it will make all the difference in your relationships.

Today I wanted to share just a piece of the book to give you some action steps to apply the next time conflict occurs.

  1. Affirm the Relationship – Here is a great way to start a conversation: “I am here, even though it’s uncomfortable, because I value our relationship and would rather be uncomfortable resolving our misunderstandings than comfortable with misunderstandings in our relationship.”
  2. Seek to Understand –The key here is to truly hear the other side of the story. Many conflicts are resolved at this step when you are willing to look at the conflict from the other side. “Get curious, not furious.” Orrin Woodward
  3. Seek to be Understood –Remember, resolution is the object, not justification. After you successfully get through the first two steps you can share your perspective. Again, not to justify but to create understanding and a plan for future interactions.
  4. Own Responsibility by Apologizing – A leader is aware that it is always our fault, even when it is not. We need to take responsibly for as much of the conflict as we truthfully can. Even if the other party is entirely at fault I still apologize for my part in the problem and ask for forgiveness.
  5. Seek Agreement – Leave the table on the same side with a plan to avoid future conflict of the same nature. Other problems will arise but the same problems should not persist.

More animals in the barnyard, more “stuff” to deal with. The bigger the following we create the more problems we will encounter. Courage is the virtue that underlies all virtues. It will take courage to apply the five steps and resolve conflict, but the blessings of the strong relationships it will create will be eternal.

God bless,

Dan  Hawkins

Tagged , , , , , , ,

13 thoughts on “Do you know how to resolve conflict?

  1. Thanks, Dan! Great post and a great lesson!
    The beauty of all the lessons in RESOLVED is that they can apply to just about anyone at any point in their life. Family, work, or church, all relationships will have problems and this is a way to work through the “stuff”
    Awesome teaching!

  2. Great stuff as usual Dan. Thanks for the lessons and reminders.

  3. Your transparency is greatly appreciated! I look forward to each new post!

  4. Great post, Dan! People do make life messy…and understanding how to resolve issues within relationships would go a long way in tidying it up!

  5. Hi! That is one of my favorite poems ever. I also love having the teaching through conflict resolution. I don’t think I can hear that enough. We received our new subscription through AGO yesterday and I am already loving the book “War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles” by Paul David Tripp. I’m trusting that will lead to more understanding in this area, as well.

  6. […] I still have a long way to go yet before I feel like I have mastered this!!  Recently, one of my mentors posted a blog about Conflict Resolution, along with some Conflict Resolution tips.  In that blog, […]

  7. Thank you for being so real, Dan! Appreciate your leadership!

  8. Reblogged this on Kristen Seidl – Living an Intentional Life and commented:
    Fantastic article on the importance of stiffening the spine and resolving conflict for the sake of relationships!

  9. […] I still have a long way to go yet before I feel like I have mastered this!!  Recently, one of my mentors posted a blog about Conflict Resolution, along with some great tips.  In that blog, Dan posted […]

  10. I could have used ‘seek to understand’ and ‘own responsibility by opologizing’ just a couple of days ago at work.

  11. This is an area I’ve always struggled with, but thanks to Life and our Team I am finding the courage to stand up and be who I’ve always been meant to be. I can no longer avoid working on this weakness, and am getting so many positive results from facing fear rather than avoiding these types of situations. I am so grateful for LIFE 🙂 !!!!! Our leaders ROCK!!!!

  12. Thanks for sharing this insightful blog.

  13. Amazing. Thank you.

Comments are closed.