Scripture reading:

And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. And the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land [making fodder more difficult to obtain]. Genesis 13:14

Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. – Ronald Regan

How do you treat people who see things differently from you? Do you slam the door in their face? Notice that as you work with your team to achieve goals and objectives, there will be occasions of disagreement. Differences of opinion may occur because of conflicting facts, views, interests, or claims. It is typical for people to have differing opinions even while assessing the same situation.

This was the case at the dress rehearsal of a monthly event hosted by me called the Tribe of David. The stage was finally set after a gruelling two hours of hustle and bustle. Then I noticed what I had perceived as an excellent floral arrangement by one of our sponsors had been replaced. While I appreciated the change, I insisted that the previous floral display be restored. Importantly, in the event of clash of ideas, demonstrate that you respect the right of the other party to have their opinion, just as you have a right to yours too.

One of the outstanding qualities of smart leaders is their crisis management and conflict resolution skills and expertise. You need to be able to dwell, communicate and reason with people who may share different ideologies with you. You want to win them, not offend them. By now, people loyal to Abram and Lot were at loggerheads over resource sharing. Abram, however, recognised that he needed to be careful not to destroy what he had laboured to build. He would not jeopardise his relationship and investment in his nephew, Lot. A wise man once said, “The measure of a durable relationship lies in conflict management.”

People who want to be influential protect relationships. Often, they are willing to sacrifice material things to preserve important aspects of their relationships. Self-centredness would have caused Abram to act differently. Even as a mentor, he chose to not burn bridges. Yes, if necessary, separate but build a bridge for continued contact, especially as a mentee. You’ll need it!

Finally, be firm yet gentle as you attempt to manage conflict today. Regardless of your position, never slam the door in the face of one who may share a different opinion. Access to a complementary viewpoint you resist now may be beneficial to you in the future.

 

Reflection:

How better can you manage situations that typically result in conflict in your relationship, career, and life in general?

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