Response to Conflict - Lesson 2

Constructive Conflict Management

In this lesson, you will learn that conflict can be beneficial if well managed. Conflict can lead to faster problem-solving and increased productivity, and can be a team-building moment within your ministry. To deal with conflict constructively, you must recognize that it is not necessarily dysfunctional, and not all conflict can be resolved. Conflict is good because it helps you understand that there is a problem or challenge that needs to be met, and it can be a motivator for change. Building trust through strengthened relationships will help you manage conflict and achieve personal growth.
Chuck Coker
Response to Conflict
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Constructive Conflict Management

Constructive Conflict Management

I. The Value of Conflict

A. Faster problem solving process

B. Increased productivity

C. Personal growth and relationship strengthening

II. Thinking Constructively about Conflict

A. Communication breakdown

B. Unresolved conflicts

C. Fixed mindsets

III. How Conflict Can Help Build Relationships

A. Relational rifts

B. Diverse perspectives

IV. Team Development and Conflict

A. Forming, storming, norming, and performing stages

B. Diversity and friction

C. Conflict as a motivator for change

V. Dealing with Conflict through Love and Understanding

A. Love as the foundation

B. Overcoming individual silos

C. The role of the Spirit of God

  • 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
Constructive Conflict Management
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Well, welcome back. Now that you know the differences that can bring about conflict and you understand what the conflict continuum is. Remember, half of it happens in here before the other person ever knows about it. And so when we blindside people they respond based on that adrenaline rush that we talked about. [00:00:30][29.4]

[00:00:31] So now let's focus on the value of conflict because there is value in it. I'm going to tell you something. Conflict is good. And I'll tell you why very shortly. But well managed conflict can bring a faster problem solving process. Secondly, it can actually increase the productivity of your organization. You have to realize that often times people, especially those in ministry, have the mentality, Well, if it doesn't get done, the Lord will take care of it. But we are to be good stewards and to be good stewards we have to do our job well. Like Paul says, we run the race to win. And the way we can do that is by strengthening the relationships that we have to a point building trust within them so that those strengthened relationships will allow us to deal with conflict so that we have personal growth among our fellow staff members. So in this section, we're going to think critically about when conflict is likely to emerge, what our response might be and how we can set the stage for conflicts to be team building moments within our ministry. So let's think about that for just a minute. [00:02:29][118.0] [00:02:30] Conflict's hard to deal with. We know that. But it's not the end of the world. Some people's idea of conflict can be very negative, which hinders our ability to manage it properly. So what's important for us to learn at this point is we have to think of conflict constructively. Conflict normally represents a communication breakdown. If we avoid conflict, it will not go away. [00:03:25][13.0]

[00:03:29] Next. Conflict is not necessarily dysfunctional if it's well managed. Conflict arises when problems go unexpressed because of our own personal unwillingness to deal with the issue. And if we ignore conflict, it gets blown out of proportion. So not all conflict can actually be resolved, especially if a person has a very fixed mindset and we have to get over that. And we have to understand that people with that strong fixed mindset, you can't argue with them. So you make a decision as to how you're going to respond because conflict is going to occur no matter where you are. Whether it's just a personal relationship, a ministry relationship, or a role that you may play in society. But we also have to remember that not all conflict can actually be managed. [00:04:52][83.3]

[00:04:54] So I just mentioned to you a minute ago that conflict is good. Now let me tell you why conflict is good, because it helps us understand that there is a problem or a challenge that needs to be met. Because you see, if we are willing to make some conflicts unsolvable they never get addressed, and differences between people are inevitable. So conflict is going to be inevitable also. So most conflicts can be managed. But orders, policies and procedures can produce exceptions. So therefore, why I say that is because conflict can actually help you build the relationship. Because what does the statistics show us? It's not that we are often that much out of alignment with each other. But it has much more to do with the semantics. That's why we covered the behaviors and the mindsets earlier is to help you understand that those relationships can be challenged based on the behaviors and mindsets. But if we understand those differences, then guess what? We build the relationships because of the differences and because we know that diversity in ministry is critical. Otherwise, there's gaps in the ministry. So looking at the whole concept that conflict can actually be a motivator for change is going to allow you to be a winner and not a loser. [00:07:10][135.9]

[00:07:10] And let me tell you why conflict's good and it can help is because a relational rift that's been mended will actually come out stronger than before. And let me give you an example of that. 65 to 70% of the organizations and companies across America are said to be unfriendly in customer service. But the other 35% that have very high ratings in customer service have dealt with issues, and made their customers happy by asking simple questions like What can we do to help you fix this? And when that happens, the customer sees that there is a willing effort. So what they have done is they have actually built a relationship through the conflict. And even though there may be diverse perspectives, we can actually bring about effective change to make the conflict work for us. And there are many ways a conflict can be settled. So while, managing conflict can be difficult. We believe that it is one of the most important skills to build a strong team in your ministry. And if you don't deal with those things, if you shove them under the rug, people often hold in until they get to a point to where they've had enough. And guess what happens then? They walk off the job and you never see it coming. Remember. In ministry across America, and this is a survey that I was involved with less than two years ago, there is a 70% turnover after five years. And it doesn't need to happen. Why? Because people are not willing to deal with the value that's seen in conflict. Conflict often contains very valuable lessons that can improve your team and your success as an elder. A pastor or staff member depends directly on taking advantage of these opportunities rather than shoving them under the rug. [00:10:14][183.4]

[00:10:15] Let's consider this model for team development. The first step is always forming, getting the team together. But in today's society, as mobile as we are, a team is almost always forming and reforming. And what happens during that forming stage, whether it's one, two or more people that come in, we immediately get the storming phase of team. And why does that happen? Different behaviors, different mindsets are now coming into the team that wasn't there before. So it may cause a culture change or a culture shift. But that storming is all about conflict. And if we don't deal with it during that particular time, we cannot move on to the next stage of norming and finally performing at a high level. So what I want to make sure that you understand is that a diverse team will have foresight in many areas of expertise. If we don't have that diversity on the team, there's always going to be gaps and things that don't get done as well as they could. However, when starting to know each other, differences are going to cause friction. When you're working with the team, that diversity, even though it's necessary for a successful ministry, is going to initiate conflict. But it's essential to your team's success. So my question now would be, well, how can conflict actually help your team? Well, first of all, it's going to allow you to better understand our personal objectives and priorities. [00:12:33][138.5]

[00:12:35] So. Here's what I want you to think about as we talk about better understanding our personal objectives and priorities. What does that take us back to? It takes us back to our mindsets. The team has to have that same priority and mindsets have to be readjusted. You remember in our training when we talked about mindsets, we said that they were fluid. They could change over a period of time and that's what needs to happen. During the storming to norming phase is those priorities now begin to come in line. If we're trying to develop a new ministry focus, then everybody has to focus on that priority because the most critical component to productive change is based on our focus on those priorities. You see, it's essential for relationship development, leadership development, management development and the organization's growth and health. Without getting through that storming phase to the norming phase, we are not going to be a healthy organization. That's why I say the conflict is good. It tells us something is amiss. It helps us manage the change that we have to go through, especially when there's new team members. Understand those personal differences. Become effective leaders and managers when we have to deal with organizational change, cultural change, generational change, behavioral change, value change and motivational change. You see, each one of those aspects are diverse. Each one of those aspects can bring about conflict, but each one of those aspects are something critical to the success of our organization. Because we're not ministering to one person. We are normally ministering to a diverse group of people, and if we don't minister with diversity, we will never succeed in the growth and development of our ministry. Now, I bet that begs the question for you. [00:15:36][181.5]

[00:15:37] Would you say that the foundational attitude to effectively deal with conflict is that people really care about each other and love each other in the process? [00:15:48][10.6]

[00:15:50] Absolutely. Here's the one thing that we have to remember and keep it ever constant on our mind when we have a conflictual situation. And that is, the Lord is not a respecter of persons. In other words, He loves us all equally. He's called us and he was willing to sacrifice his son. And that is love. And let me give you just an illustration. Love is the oil that we put on the gears to make things run smoothly. And if we don't add the oil of love to the people that we are working with, we'll never get out of that storming phase into the norming phase and working and respecting those uniquenesses and those differences that are critical to our organization success. [00:16:59][69.6]

[00:17:00] My question is probably pretty similar to that is, but many churches are in terms of leadership, especially on staff, maybe elders, too, are full of individuals. You've got the senior preaching pastor who's been trained and the other children's pastor that's got his silo. And you've I mean, you've got these different silos, these different things, and we're kind of trained, do my job and don't worry about the other stuff. And so what would you do in a situation where they didn't really want to be a part of a team? How would you help people understand that the group is always more effective than any one individual by himself? [00:17:41][40.5]

[00:17:42] That's a very good question, because what it does is it helps us see perspective wise the uniqueness of the 12 apostles, because each one of them had a different agenda. And I mean, if you think about Matthew compared to Simon the Zealot, you have two very different people. But the thing that brought them together was the Spirit of God. And the Spirit of God brought those people together. Why? Because they were headed in the same direction. So when there's conflict and when there's silo, we have to remember that what is the good that we're working for? And sometimes it may require sitting down with those team leaders. I think that's why a church that has an executive leadership team that sits down with the senior pastor and the leaders of each one of these departments on a regular basis should not just ask, how are you doing this week? They should be able to keep the senior pastor or the executive pastor in a constant mode of information, feeding them on a regular basis. Because guess what? Some departments can help other departments and feed into them ideas that have worked for them that may also work for that other department. So the senior pastor or the leader or the head elder, whoever is holding the reins, must have that executive leadership team working together constantly so that the mission, vision and values of that church are in their face constantly and they are reminded. I know in the church that I go to, I have yet after 11 years, been able to hear a sermon that did not say the mission of the church is to deepen the relationship with Jesus Christ. And if we are going to deepen that relationship with Jesus Christ then we have to work together as a team. And yes, there's going to be conflict, but we're all headed in the same direction. [00:17:42][0.0]