Friday, 14 October 2016

Conflict resolution: the area that I am most nervous about.

It will come as no surprise to those who know my personality or have read this week’s posts that conflict resolution is the area that makes me the most nervous in my new role. I usually avoid confrontation if at all possible, “the hedgehog approach” as the marriage course I’m doing phrased it. I have long known this about myself. Being involved in conflict resolution is part of the job description for the current roles I am in but I have always had that backup of being able to pass up to the State Coordinator if it grew past my capacity. Now that person will be me.

Recognising this area of weakness within me over the past several years, in the context of work, church ministry and MOPS, I was faced with two choices: bury my head, keep using the same ineffective defences and at worst, allowing this to stop me saying yes to new leadership and work opportunities OR taking steps to grow in this area. I choose growth. I don’t think I will ever get to the stage where I feel completely comfortable in confrontational situations. I can grow in confidence in my ability to speak into them, though.

When opportunities come up at conferences or in reading material to learn strategies around conflict resolution, and especially within a Christian framework, I have been taking advantage of them. I have learned so much from this. I am also realising that my personality can be an asset in this area and not an obstacle as I have always viewed it. So much of what stands out to me in conflict resolution is the ability to connect with people, seek to understand different points of view and have the ability to step back and develop solutions. I have those skills.

Part of what makes confrontation difficult for me is that I can feel what other people are feeling in a way. The heightened emotion can leave me reeling and it takes an effort to process and engage my thoughts again. I need to develop strategies around giving myself the space I need to process in order to be effective in working through the issues with my brain fully active in addition to my intuitive side.

As a Christian, the single greatest tool that I can employ is prayer. I have seen amazing heart changes and situation changes happen before I’ve even had the chance to meet with parties involved simply through prayer. It also changes me. I can be more at peace and recognise that I don’t have to rely on my own wisdom and strength.

Maybe you are like me and struggle with confrontation. Maybe your issue with conflict resolution is completely different to mine. I encourage you to seek out guidance and teaching. This is a skill (or really a whole range of skills combined) that can be learned and utilised within the strengths and flavour that your personality brings.

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