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Are you wrestling?

Are you wrestling with something or someone?
Perhaps things are a little tense at the moment?
Recently I was asked “how do you deal with conflict President?”
One of my key goals is to ensure that as mission leaders we foster a mission culture of collaboration, encouragement, and unity.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But human beings are oftentimes far from simple!
Communication is strained, there are opposing positions, emotions run high – sound familiar?
And what happens if there are disagreements that impact relationships?
There are some simple things that we can do to overcome differences.
As a leader it is important to consider the following.

Top Tips

– Start with one-on-one conversations and get the full story by listening to understand.
Help each person do the important basic initial work at hand, namely – seeing the other person’s viewpoint, discerning their own emotions, and preparing for conversations to come.
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– Ask purposeful, meaningful questions by starting a dialogue
It is helpful to ask questions that focus on the facts and also on their emotions. “What is going on for you right now?” or “What’s motivating you?”
To help foster mutual understanding , it is also useful to have each person take the other persons perspective. This in turn will help everyone to feel heard and empowered.
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– Look forward – together
Once a little bit of clarity has started to evolve for each other, encourage each party to share what they have discussed with you as their leader.
In addition, remind them that they can work out their differences and find resolutions on their own by focussing on their relationship. Once the immediate disagreements are addressed, then make a plan to get everyone back on the same page.
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Some other important things to remember.
• Use this opportunity to revisit agreed purpose and goals.
• Promote more interactions to create better cohesion.
• Don’t assume everyone knows what they’re supposed to be working on! Clarify each other’s roles so that people know exactly what is expected of them.
Compassion, empathy, finding common ground, forgiveness, kindness, being an active listener and above all, selfless service are key to build bridges to resolve any conflicts.
Finally, choosing to slow down and focus on what matters most – really helps!
How can you repair some broken bridges?

The 18th Camel

Many years ago, an old man died and left his camels to his three sons; one-half to the oldest, one-third to the second son, and one-ninth to the youngest. However, there was a problem, he had only 17 camels.

The three sons got into an intense negotiation over who should get how many, because 17 doesn’t divide by two, or by three, or by nine.

In time, tempers became very strained.  In an effort to resolve the situation, they finally agreed to go to a wise old woman in the community. She listened to their problem and after some time says, “Well, I don’t know if I can help you, but if you want, at least you can have my camel.  Then you will have 18 camels and you can divide them among the three of you.”

Accepting her offer the brothers gave half (or 9) of the 18 camels to the eldest son, a third (or 6) of them to the second son and a ninth (or 2) of them to the youngest son. One camel remained. There is one camel left over, so the brothers give it back to the woman.

Many of our challenges and conflicts today are like those 17 camels — they seem impossible to resolve, with no apparent solution in sight.

Sometimes we just need more imaginative ways to overcome our problems. Every problem has a solution! What we need to do is step back from the situation, look at it through a fresh lens, and come up with an 18th camel.

What is your 18th camel?