10 Jul #3 Manage Conflict
Earlier this year, Positive Alternative Radio (PAR) proudly announced that it had been certified as a
Best Christian Workplace by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI). It is a high honor,
which is bestowed—or denied, based on the results of BCWI’s Engagement Survey.
Survey results are compiled from anonymous feedback submitted by the registered organization’s team members.
For Part II of The Transparency Project, we will look at PAR’s three lowest rankings and share how we are growing in these areas.
We start with #3: The people I work with exhibit good conflict resolution skills.
Dear Christian Radio,
When you hear the word conflict what reaction does it spur within you? Likely, your blood pressure raises a little and your heart beats a bit faster. For some people, the very thought of conflict results in great angst and withdrawal as a tool of avoidance.
We are a Christian organization, we love Jesus; we love each other. We are also human and on any given day we fight our own selfishness, opinions, preconceived notions, and perceptions. This inevitably leads to conflict at times!
If you know any of our story, you know there was a time when PAR was very broken. We’ve been very transparent in admitting that fact. Our stations didn’t collaborate; there were silos at every turn; there wasn’t a driving Mission that guided action and decisions. We remain intentional that we will never return to those days.
Let me say this: You need conflict in your organization. It helps you grow as a team. Every leader needs team members who disagree with them. Ideas should be wrestled to the ground. Opinions should be heard. Attitudes need to be addressed. This is where the how is so important.
At PAR, leaders meet weekly with their team members, individually. If you haven’t read, “Winning” by Jack Welch, go buy it today. He devotes an entire chapter to Candor. He states:
“Lack of candor basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.”
As a leader, be quick in your willingness to have difficult conversations when attitudes sour, directives are ignored, and silos begin to emerge. Be listening…in your weekly meetings you can assess how a team member is doing as well as hear ideas that may help your organization excel. A lot of times conflict is the result of someone not feeling heard or valued. Welch also writes:
“First and foremost, candor gets more people in the conversation, and when you get more people in the conversation, to state the obvious, you get idea rich. Instead of everyone shutting down, everyone opens up and learns.”
Candor is a win-win for all parties.
One of our Ways of Being is, “Be Honest.” And, we are! Team members are encouraged to challenge the norm, express innovative ideas, voice frustrations, and even disagree. Here’s the caveat: all of that has to be done whilst remembering another Way of Being, which is, “Be Caring.” We attempt to never allow our opinions to outweigh our respect for each other.
My challenge to you—ask yourself the following three questions:
- Are you embracing conflict or are your running from it?
- Are you meeting with team members to address issues before conflict becomes unhealthy or unmanageable?
- Do your team members feel that you are respectfully listening?
Dear Christian Radio…
- Embrace conflict. Let it knit you together as a team, never allow it to tear you apart.
- Practice candor. A lot of conflict is due to a lack of clear communication.
- Be mindful of self. There is no “I” in team…be willing to listen, adapt, and press in as needed when conflict arises.
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