Conflict Resolution: Solving the real problem
A leader must be able to help their team solve problems. What students often fail to recognize is that they attempt to solve the wrong problem. Often many of the problems leaders deal with are actually relational issues.
I was once with a mission team who was convinced their problem was that weak people kept spilling wheel barrels on a large concrete pour. They “solved” the problem by not allowing girls to run wheel barrels. They soon realized that guys were just as apt to spill wheel barrels. They had solved the wrong problem. Eventually they realized that all they had to do was put less concrete in the wheel barrels. That night we had to do some major problem solving as the girls came to the team hurt and unappreciated. That night when we met together as a team one of the guys in our group immediately spoke up, admitted the team’s wrong and began to reconcile the team using simple conflict resolution steps he had learned in pre-trip training. It went like this:
• Let each person state his/her views
• Have neutral team members identify areas of agreement
• Explore areas of disagreement
• Have opponents suggest modifications to theirs/others point of view
• Ask opponents to accept team decision
When students use this process for conflict resolution, it can help them solve the right problem and move the team forward.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More