Are you currently experiencing conflict with a family member, team member, or friend? Have you ever experienced conflict with someone who you love and/or lead?
If so, you know that it can be painful, wearisome, and difficult. If so, you understand that relational conflict is one of the most emotionally taxing parts of leadership that you wish never existed. If so, you also probably understand that conflict is an unfortunate reality of leadership that does exist and that it must be handled well. As a leader, you cannot avoid conflict resolution.
So if conflict is a reality, how can a leader get better at conflict resolution?
Well, at a lunch today with a mentor and friend, I was introduced to the three types of "peacemakers." I believe my mentor's insights were gained from The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. Though so much more goes into peacemaking, determining on the front-end what type of peacemaker you want to be will go a long way.
Are you a peace-breaker? When conflict arises do you run? Do you avoid? Do you slander the person you are in conflict with? Do you backbite? Do you place blame? Do you remove yourself from the situation thereby closing the door to reconciliation? Do you prefer being "right" to being reconciled? If a majority of these answers are "yes" you may be a peace-breaker.
Are you a peace-faker? When conflict arises do you pretend like conflict hasn't arisen? Do you disguise your anger with a smile? Do you hide your hurt with "happiness?" Do you say one thing in front of the person you have conflict with and an entirely different thing to everyone else? Do you pursue the appearance of a healthy relationship more than an actual healthy relationship? Do you prefer being fake to experiencing and extending true forgiveness? If a majority of these answers are "yes" you may be a peace-faker.
Are you a peace-maker? When conflict arises do you confront it? Do you approach the person with whom you have conflict and seek to understand before being understood? Do you apologize? Do you ask for forgiveness? Do you own the part of the conflict that you are responsible for? Do you sincerely say, "I'm sorry?" Do you exercise humility? Do you pursue reconciliation until you no longer can pursue reconciliation? Do you prefer being reconciled to being "right?" If a majority of these answers are "yes" you may be a peace-maker.
Regardless of what type of peacemaker you find yourself to be today, in order to become an effective leader, "Peace-Maker" must become your goal. If as leaders, we cannot cultivate a culture of peace, disunity will ensue and failure will be our result.
Why is becoming a Peace-Maker so difficult? Please share your comments below, I'd really like to know!