This week during HSM’s end of year meeting I encouraged my team to be better at conflict. Being the people-pleasing giant that I am … it doesn’t come naturally to me either. I’m OK with letting some things go or not saying the last 10% in an effort to make peace and keep friendships. The challenge is to rethink how avoiding conflict doesn’t help – in fact actually it hurts relationships. Here’s why a little dose of conflict might be good in our youth ministry culture:
Conflict allows people to grow
Observations and constructive criticism left unsaid is a missed opportunity for someone to grow. When you avoid conflict you marginalize someone’s growth and cap their leadership. Say the tough things so they keep getting better and as a team you become more effective. Not saying it is selfish, especially if it is done to preserve your position or status.
Conflict kills the undercurrent of negativity
The worst part about avoiding the tough conversations is that you’re still going to have the easy conversations with someone else about that person. Too much avoiding people and addressing problems leads to isolation, dysfunction and eventually loss. Keep the team happy in the long run by having a few painful days among the way. The long view of health will push you to push for it on a daily basis.
Conflict follows Jesus example
Jesus wasn’t afraid of conflict. Neither was Paul, Peter and other leaders of the early church. Conflict makes sure we stay on task, onboard with the vision and forces us to truly love and care for each other and the church.
It is never easy … when it is you’re probably broken. But it is a necessary part of leadership.