Jeremy Armstrong says it’s something every leader must learn to deal with:
I don’t know of anyone who loves conflict, but it’s something every leader must learn to deal with. Your case may prove challenging because it sounds like you might be conflict averse—that you’d rather avoid problems than aggressively seek to resolve them. Leaders who are conflict averse tend to gloss over messy issues, wish them away, or withdraw. Meanwhile, team morale erodes and unity unravels, so it doesn’t serve you well to sweep those sticky matters under the rug.
In my younger days, conflict used to paralyze me. I would lose sleep over the least bit of friction within my ministry. I even took it personally, assuming that any semblance of conflict casts a bad reflection on my leadership. I’ve since learned that every ministry has its issues. The question is whether I, as the leader, rise up to do something about it or not.
In 1 Chronicles 28:20, an aging King David exhorts his son, Solomon, to proactive leadership: “Be strong and courageous, and act” (NASB). The ESV translates that last part, “Do it,” and the NIV reads, “Do the work.” No matter the translation, the language is assertive. It’s as if David is saying, “Solomon, you’re the leader. Do something about those pesky problems.” In the same way, I urge you to be proactive. Don’t wait for problems to go away or solve themselves. If you care about your ministry and your people (which I’m sure you do), then take action. Assert leadership.
Firmly, But Lovingly
Ephesians 4:31 instructs us to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. Good advice when you’re just about to confront someone. Leave your anger behind. Don’t use an accusatory, harsh, or vindictive tone. Be humble and speak lovingly to those involved.