How to Guide Your Team Through Conflict

This is a great post from Donald Miller’s blog on how to guide your team through conflict.

Here are some keys for a team to survive conflict:

1. Invite God into the conflict. Structured, daily prayer will give people a sense of hope. Bring God into the conflict and trust that He is there with you

2. Commit to having patience. It’s going to get tough, and nobody is going to get what they want out of the situation, so settle in and have some patience.

3. Have compassion. Some people register pain more than others, but resentment is an open door for the conflict to win. Don’t resent somebody else’s pain, even if you suspect they are playing the victim. Give them what they need for much longer than you might need it yourself.

4. Take some time to grieve. If there’s conflict, it’s likely because somebody, or something (a vision or a desire) has died. Moving on to quickly is not helpful. Give yourself a great deal of time to grieve what has been lost. Giving yourself permission to grieve will stop the voices of condemnation for feeling so weak. Weakness after a loss is part of the healing process, and so it should be associated with strength.

5. Serve one another. If it helps, go to a calendar and find a date a month or even a year out. Commit to serving everybody in need until that date. Of course we should always be servants, but pointing to a date on the calendar breaks up a tough commitment into an actionable step, and will stop you from trying to overly control the situation, a mistake a lot of people make when times get hard.

6. Listen. Listen to everybody involved. Make a list of names if you have to, and make appointments with everybody experiencing the conflict, and simply listen to how they are feeling. Try to formulate their thoughts and repeat it back to them so they know you understand. Share your own feelings with them. Much of the pain involved in a tragedy is the feeling of being alone and not having people in your life that understand. Listening will help people not feel so alone.

7. When the grieving is done, map out a vision and process to rebuild what was lost.Give yourself permission to slowly move forward.

8. When the time is right, write down all God has developed within you because the conflict took place. You’ll be amazed at His ability to redeem a tragedy and make something beautiful grow as a monument to the beautiful thing that was lost.

Five Characteristics of Weak Leaders

From Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Hyatt pulls out five characteristics of weak leaders.

General George B. McClellan, commander of the “Army of the Potomac” and, eventually, first general-in-chief of the Union Army…

  1. Hesitating to take definitive action. McClellan was constantly preparing. According to him, the Army was never quite ready. The troops just needed a little more training. In his procrastination, he refused to engage the enemy, even when he clearly had the advantage. He could just not bring himself to launch an attack. When Lincoln finally relieved him of his duties, he famously said, “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”
  2. Complaining about a lack of resources. He constantly complained about the lack of available resources. He didn’t have enough men. His men weren’t paid enough. They didn’t have enough heavy artillery. And on and on he went. The truth is that, as a leader, you never have enough resources. You could always use more of one thing or another. But the successful leaders figure out how to get the job done with the resources they have.
  3. Refusing to take responsibility. McClellan was constantly blaming everyone else for his mistakes and for his refusal to act. He even blamed the President. Every time he suffered a defeat or a setback, someone or something was to blame. He was a master finger-pointer. Great leaders don’t do this. They are accountable for the results and accept full responsibility for the outcomes.
  4. Abusing the privileges of leadership. While his troops were struggling in almost unbearable conditions, McClellan lived in near-royal splendor. He spent almost every evening entertaining guests with elaborate dinners and parties. He insisted on the best clothes and accommodations. His lifestyle stood in distinct contrast to General Ulysses S. Grant, his eventual successor, who often traveled with only a toothbrush.
  5. Engaging in acts of insubordination. McClellan openly and continually criticized the President, his boss. He was passive-aggressive. Even when Lincoln gave him a direct order, he found a way to avoid obeying it. In his arrogance, he always knew better than the President and had a ready excuse to rationalize his lack of follow-through.

From Michael Hyatt’s Blog