Last time I introduced the idea that you’re enormous advantaged, as a leader, when you’re honestly aware of your vulnerabilities.  Ignorant of them, you undermine your own effectiveness.

Achilles 5These blindspots lead directly to conflict.  Sometimes you’re aware of the row they produce.  If you’re like most pastors I know, you hate when somebody brings a complaint about you.

Don’t you?

Well, the other conflicts—those you never become aware of–are far more dangerous.  They’re the “sleeper cells” of terrorist activity hidden in the seemingly benign ordinaryness of your life and ministry.

In these conflicts, those you offend just move on, usually taking friends and family with them.  So, you’re perpetually re-building your team, your staff, your leadership core, your congregation.

Rather than seeing conflict as an opening for intimacy and learning, you push back.  Maybe, like most, you think that conflict means something is wrong… with you, with it, or with them.

Allow yourself to consider that conflicts are an inevitable and necessary part of every honest, committed relationship.  It is impossible for you to know enough to not need other people: their ideas, perceptions, feedback, and experiences.

What if their disagreeing with you does not diminish you at all?  Could it actually serve you?  Could it serve whatever it is that the two of you are endeavoring to do?

In this blog, I’ll introduce a second area, regarding conflict, where it’s supremely important to know yourself.

How have you trained yourself to respond when you’re in conflict?  What are your patterns, when it’s “on”?

As humans, were predisposed to either fight or flight.  Some leaders do both!

What’s the problem with flight or fight?

When you’re fleeing or fighting, you’re not learning.  And, if you’re not learning about the conflict you’re in, about it’s genesis, about your part in its escalation, and about the clues you’ve missed along the way—you’re setting yourself up to repeat this over and over.

So, when the impulse is to escape or to dominate in order to be right, my invitation is to get inquisitive.  Imagine a crime scene investigator who interprets every case as something “bad”, something to do away with as quickly as possible… something to ignore (flight), or to conquer (fight) with great haste.

How many cases would actually get solved?  How much real justice would get done?


Being in Conflict 5.docx

KRK 9/6/2014