Making the Move from Conflict to Cooperation
Part 2 of 4
If you’re a ministry leader, conflict is unavoidable. But how do you make the move from conflict to cooperation?
Remember Don (lead pastor) and Mark (executive pastor) from our previous article? Neither begins their day trying to frustrate or isolate the other. But that seems to be happening now more than ever.
One area that trips up these two leaders is managing change. Don likes things to move fast. He thrives in a dynamic environment where he can allow change to drive the planning process. Mark gravitates to a slower pace and more predictable environment where he can plan for change to ensure more predictable outcomes. Don is growing frustrated and losing confidence in Mark, even labeling him as resistant to change and blocking progress. These differences could spell the end of a multi-year relationship if something doesn’t give.
Go With Your Strengths – and Theirs
Allow me to ask you to do a simple exercise. (Take a moment to actually try it.) Reach for any object in front of you, whether it is your coffee mug, a pen, cell phone, or other object on your desk. Which hand do you use to pick the object up – your dominant hand or your non-dominant hand? If I asked you to do that same exercise a hundred times, you would reach with your dominant hand 99 times. Why? Because it’s natural. You did not take a training course to teach you to choose your dominant hand. God gave you a natural bent.
Let’s assume that you picked up a pen with your dominant hand. Then I asked you to move the pen to your non-dominant hand and write with it the rest of the day. Imagine how frustrating that would be and how much energy you’d invest making the change. Wouldn’t it be easier and more life-giving just to do what comes naturally?
In the same way, life is more productive and energizing when we use our God-given strengths, rather than to try to exercise a bent that does not come naturally to us. I have dedicated the last twenty years of my life to releasing leaders to lead from their strengths and empower others to do the same. The process is simple and transformational. And, it starts with you.
Be Willing to Examine Yourself
Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them.”
Don was willing to take a closer look at his strengths before he gave up on his relationship with Mark. He completed the Leading From Your Strengths Profile. Among other things, his personalized report revealed his passion for a fast-paced environment where change is fluid, allowing many course corrections along the way to drive change. The report gave him 22 pages of strengths-based insights and specific action steps to communicate with people around him – even those who like a slower sequential environment where change is planned with a very specific set of actions. People like Mark.
Don is starting to think there might be better choices he can make when it comes to differences.
And so can you.