Fast Company has a great article on dealing with conflict in business and there’s some easily transferable principles for the church, too. Here’s a clip:
Pow wow and parley. Once you know that facts, get people together to hash out the issues. Ideally, as a manager, you want to take a back seat to the negotiation process; you want your people to talk face to face and express themselves openly. That may not always be possible; so very often the manager will need to kick off the process. You can do it by framing the issues and getting people to begin to talk to one another instead of at each other.
Strive for the win-win. Workplace conflicts need not be zero sum games where winners gloat over their takings and losers shirk away in shame. As a manager, you can work to see that each party will get something from the negotiation process. The “getting” may be as grand as resources and tools, or as modest as a reinforcement of their good name. Whatever it is, do what you can to make something good happen.
Conflicts are not all bad. As authors Harvey and Ventura write, “[C]onflict challenges the status quo; it forces us to examine our thinking and behavior… to reflect on what we do and how we do it.” Nothing so thought provoking nor convention upsetting can be all bad! Let’s face it those of us in leadership positions sometimes get stuck in our ways. A good disagreement can stir things up and force us to re examine the “same old same old” mentality that leads to conformity and stagnation.