Response to Conflict - Lesson 1

Understanding and Identifying Conflict

In this lesson on Responding to Conflict, you will learn that constructive conflict can be a powerful trust-building tool, and it is important to understand where conflict comes from and how it evolves. Conflict can be hard to handle because relationships are at stake, and damaged relationships can lead to passive-aggressive behaviors, neglected duties, and lack of collaboration. Conflict usually starts with a misunderstanding, followed by an opinion and assumption that can cause anxiety to escalate, leading to a fight or flight instinct. It is crucial to identify conflict in its early stages to avoid it getting out of hand.
Chuck Coker
Response to Conflict
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Understanding and Identifying Conflict

I. Understanding the Origins of Conflict

A. Role of relationships in conflict

B. Identifying early stages of conflict

C. The conflict continuum

II. Reasons for Conflict

A. Differences in thinking and behavior

B. Behaviors and mindsets

C. Nature vs. nurture aspect of personalities

III. Positive Aspects of Conflict

A. Diversity of Perspectives

B. Creative Tension

IV. Conflict Resolution Skills

A. De-escalation

B. Learning from Conflict

  • Dr. Chuck Coker invites you to his conflict response program, emphasizing conflict's role in personal growth and spiritual development, promising transformative change.
  • In responding to conflict, it is crucial to understand its origins and how it evolves as conflict is instrumental in a well-functioning team or ministry, but handling it can be daunting. Conflict usually starts with a misunderstanding that can cause anxiety to escalate, leading to a fight or flight instinct. Constructive conflict can be a powerful trust-building tool, but it is essential to identify conflict in its early stages to avoid it getting out of hand.
  • Conflict can be a team-building opportunity when well managed. To effectively manage conflict, recognize it as a communication breakdown that needs to be addressed, rather than avoided. Recognize that not all conflict can be resolved, but use it as a motivator for change. Building trust through strengthened relationships will enable you to manage conflict and achieve personal growth.
  • Through this lesson, you gain in-depth knowledge of five key conflict response styles, comprehending their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, and how to navigate conflicts effectively using this understanding.
  • Gain knowledge about conflict types, causes, resolution strategies, and prevention methods to effectively handle conflicts in interpersonal, intrapersonal, and organizational settings.
  • Gain insight into conflict types, sources, and biblical resolution principles, while learning strategies like communication skills, problem-solving, reconciliation, and fostering a peaceful church culture.
  • Gain insight into biblical conflict resolution strategies, emphasizing active listening, empathy, and humility, and explore the vital roles of forgiveness and reconciliation in healing.
Dr. Chuck Coker invites you to his conflict response program, where he'll share his 35-year experience teaching conflict resolution and its importance in personal growth. Using the strategies adopted by major corporations across two continents, he'll guide you through understanding, resolving, and learning from conflicts. He aims to help participants develop into the individuals God intended them to be, all while drawing on scriptural examples. Joining this program promises transformative life changes and personal development.

Dr. Chuck Coker
Response to Conflict
Understanding and Identifying Conflict
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to our Response to Conflict course. This is going to be an opportunity for you to look at conflict completely different than perhaps you have in the past, because wanting to avoid conflict is normal. Did you know that almost 70% of people are conflict adverse? They just don't want to deal with it because relationships seem to be threatened by rising tensions, heightened feelings, fear and things like that. But let me assure you that conflict can have a very positive outcome. You see, constructive conflict is a powerful trust building tool. You see, our goal is to help you learn how to use conflict and use it in favor of the person you're sharing with or the team that you're working with. So what we're going to cover today is how to understand where conflict comes from and how it evolves. Secondly, we're going to affirm the positive value of conflict. Third, we're going to see the ways that we actually respond to conflict. And fourth, we're going to obtain the skills for conflict, de-escalation. And finally, we're going to learn from conflict at every single chance possible. [00:01:46][105.9]

[00:01:48] So let's get started. What's the real thing that's going on with conflict? You see, conflict in the workplace is unique but not unique. You see a third of all church or ministry staff people are currently engaged in some kind of conflict. Next, 25% of them will actually avoid conflict by calling in sick. They won't come to work. And 40% of the people that quit is because conflict is frequent in their particular environment. But let's look at things a little bit differently because conflict is instrumental in a well-functioning ministry, but handling it can be daunting at times. So first of all, we need to understand where conflict comes from. [00:02:58][70.4]

[00:03:02] And why is it so hard? It's mainly because the relationships that are involved. Because when conflict breaks out, most of us are fearful that it would get out of hand. So relationships are at stake. So we fear the breakdown of those relationships, whether it's due to hurt feelings or realizing that someone else simply doesn't care about us. Conflict is hard because damaged relationships in your ministry, in your church or in your workplace lead to passive aggressive behaviors, duties being neglected, lack of collaboration. So we often don't even realize when conflict begins, as it's so often borne out of very small events. So we have to learn to identify conflict in its early stages, because that's when it's most critical. [00:04:19][77.0]

[00:04:20] So let's take a look at the conflict continuum. Step one is a misunderstanding. We may not have heard or even understood what another person says. So therefore, we don't get the full picture. Secondly, we form an opinion purely based on that misunderstanding, and that opinion causes us to make an assumption about the other person. And so what happens? Internally we get a bit worked up and as we are worked up, something's happening. Our anxiety level is escalating. Now, I want you to understand something. This is all internal. Nobody else knows what's going on inside of you. But let me tell you what's going on inside of you. When you feel that internal discord amping up a little bit, your heartbeat begins to increase and as your heartbeat begins to increase, a chemical in your body is starting to be released. It's called adrenaline. You've heard of it. That chemical causes us the fight or flight instinct. But there's something special that happens during that process. As your heartbeat elevates, your cognitive abilities actually begin to decrease. [00:06:12][111.1]

[00:06:13] And let me give you an example. If your natural heartbeat is 65 and it goes up to 75, then you are looking at a greater than 10% increase. So what's happening? Your cognitive abilities are dropping more than 10% also. And so as your heartbeat continues to increase up to 75, 80, 85, you are literally using. 25 to 30% less cognitive ability. So now that anxiety level has put you at a point to where you are mentally prepared to fight or fly. So. Once the other person discovers we're already at step five, it now becomes external because you're not thinking with your full capacity. And so what happens? There is now a disagreement between you and the other person. And what happens during disagreements? Relational breakdown. That relational breakdown puts you in a place to where what used to be a normal conversation can no longer be conducted. So what we see now is we need someone to step in and mediate where we are and what needs to be addressed. So consequently, if we do not have that mediator, what happens? All out war between you and the person hurt feelings, relational breakdown. So I want us to remember. Conflict begins internally. And four of the eight steps actually occur before the other person is even aware of it. So by stage five, that anxiety level is up and people are often unable to look at the situation from different angles. As leaders in our organization. It's our job to see those different angles for them, even when it feels like conflict just came out of the blue. So. Why does conflict actually happen? Here's the deal. No two humans are the same, so therefore no two people are going to think the same way. [00:09:12][179.6]

[00:09:14] Different people think and behave in different ways as you've seen from our previous teaching, on the behaviors and mindsets that are unique to each and every individual. But in a ministry, an organization, we need a diversity of perspective that helps us birth new ideas within the ministry. And if we don't have those new ideas, we get locked in to things and continue to do them over and over again. And we don't use the differences in communication styles and priorities to create between teams. We need a little bit of friction to actually help bring out the best in each other. It is necessary to understand and respect those differences. That's why we spend so much time in knowing yourself and knowing others. Now, I'd like to take just a second to refresh our memory about our previous lesson on behaviors and mindsets. So remember that the nature aspect of our personality comes from our DISC assessment and the uniqueness. Are we task oriented extroverts or we people oriented extroverts or are we people oriented introverts or test scores? He entered introverts. Think about what we learned during those classes, because sometimes there's going to be massive conflict between that high D and high S because the D is extroverted and task oriented while the S is people oriented and introverted. You're going to find that same discrepancy, that same challenge in the conflict area between the C and the I. The C is task oriented introvert, while the I is people oriented, extrovert. So just walking into a situation, you may immediately dislike a person just because of those innate behaviors. So what we have to do is remember that they are not wrong. They're just different. But as we talked about before, mindsets are much more important because they help us stay aligned with what is important, what are our priorities. [00:12:14][180.1]

[00:12:15] And you remember the objective aspects of our life. Help us get things done. The subjective aspects of our life help us consider the people and circumstances that we're around. And our beliefs illustrate how we're going to communicate and manage the processes based on what we believe about ourself and what we believe about God. [00:12:42][26.8]

[00:12:43] So. Let's transition now into what do we actually fight over? You see conflict in the workplace in a ministry is going to take off on different paths. You see, we are interdependent. We are not independent. Almost everyone's role depends on the work of another person. So those behavioral differences that we looked at provide many different approaches to getting things done in the work place. And that in and of itself is going to fuel conflict over which method is better. Now, let me give you an example. A high C can be a very good salesperson. But that is because they're organized, they're analytical, and they present so many reasons for a person to buy. And yet a high I person is going to build a relationship with the person and they're going to be likable. They're going to be openly friendly towards other people. So the relationship may be built more quickly with the I, but the C is going to keep the I's dotted and the T's crossed. So those things are going to be natural conflicts if we look at them that way. But they are just differences in the way that we approach. [00:14:30]

[00:14:31] Now, on the other hand, value differences can also create some challenges. You see our cultural mindset determines the type of things we consider to be important. And often we hold these priorities very, very dearly. But there are also other things that can cause conflict, and that is our background, where we come from in the culture we come from. Gender distinctions, differences in those ethnic backgrounds and even political preferences can lead to toxic disputes. [00:15:19][47.8]

[00:15:19] And we know this because we see how divisive our society is today. Next, leadership conflicts can also be a different form of conflict. A change in leadership often involves a change in a leadership style. And each person has a unique and different approach to that leadership style. [00:15:19][0.0]