Misunderstandings and conflict have existed since time began. As Women's Ministries leaders it is critical that our communication is clear and effective if we are indeed hoping to provide a ministry. We need to recognize that while sin continues on earth, conflict is inevitable. However, consecrating ourselves to God and giving our problems to Him along with skillful management of our communication efforts can bring about a positive outcome.
A motto that many specialists in communication use: It's not what you say - it's how you say it!
Remember that much of what we communicate is:
Communication is congruent when:
What we SAY and what we DO match.
The Five Steps in Resolving Conflicts
1. Pray about the Problem Together.
Do this humbly, not as a way to bring judgment down on the other person! Commit to trying to find a solution, and then define the conflict as a mutual problem. In the majority of conflict situations, neither side is totally wrong nor totally right. In most cases both sides have things to work out. Try to view the situation as a mutual problem not as a win / lose struggle.
2. Clarify the Issues: Focus on the Needs and Goals.
Reframe the situation with the questions: What do we need to do to get out of this situation? What are our goals? What are the concerns? Don't be dragged back into recriminations or old gossip that is destructive.
3. Understand Each Other's Perspective.
Treat the other person and their viewpoint with respect. Take the time to give each other opportunity to state a viewpoint (active listening without interruption). Once the other person's viewpoint is understood, it is much easier to want to come to an agreement. Use specific communication: use "I" words instead of "you" words. (Rather than saying, "You make me so mad when you do that!," trying stating, "I feel disappointed and angry when something is said to me without considering my view of the situation.")
4. Break Down the Conflict into Small Parts.
If the conflict is serious it may not be possible to sort all of the problems out at one time. Identify options and develop the ones that give everyone more of what they want. Try to deal with one issue at first, then move on to the next.
5. Give and Take.
Take a long-term view. Support what is legitimate and fair. Resist greed and injustice. "Give" in areas that are high value to others and easy for you to give. Remember that you cannot expect to have everything go your way.
To remember: Focus on what is right not who is right.
Speech Thoughts from Ellen G White
When Christ is thus revealed in our speech, it will have power in winning souls to Him" (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 338).
"As followers of Christ we should make our words such as to be a help and an encouragement to one another in the Christian life. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience. We should speak of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour's love. Our words should be words of praise and thanksgiving. If the mind and heart are full of the love of God, this will be revealed in the conversation. . . .Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will bear fruit in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure. When Christ is thus revealed in our speech, it will have power in winning souls to Him" (That I May Know Him, p. 138).