I’m definitely facing into a much needed upgrade concerning the way I’m dealing with difficult situations. I’ve never thought of myself as conflict averse, but I’m realizing there are specific situations that cause me to avoid it. As a result, there are relationships in my life that are surviving rather than thriving and to some degree it negatively impacts the culture of the organizations I’m leading.
2 situations where conflict is difficult…
1. When I’m dealing with someone who doesn’t seem to want to grow or lean in. If they are resistant I tend to ‘wash my hands’ and say, “Well I did my part.” If they don’t meet me half way then there’s not much else I can do. This works well in a general sense but not with mission critical relationships (i.e. family, employees, teammates).
I’m realizing this has caused me to give up on people that God wants me to engage no matter how frustrating it is to me or how ridiculous I may think it is to keep ‘going there’ with no visible results. There are certain people in my life that I don’t get the luxury of backing off.
2. This is one I hate to admit especially in this environment but in the name of ‘going there’ and keeping myself accountable to this, here goes. I’ve recently realized I have a propensity to back off difficult conversations with women in the name of some southern (U.S.) cultural chivalry that is engrained in my psyche from childhood. I grew up being taught to treat ladies as special, with respect, and a man never hurts a woman. These are good things in general but difficult conversations are painful and it means that I have to say some things that may hurt to get at the real issue.
I’ve learned to do this with my wife and daughter over the years because I love them, but somehow I had not transferred that to other relationships in my life. Rather than just saying what needs to be said like I would with a guy, I’ll dance around and try to soften the blow to the point where I’m not really saying anything, but they know I’m not happy about something.
The sad truth is that this means I’ve not treated these ladies as equals. It’s cheapened my relationships and caused unnecessary distance, confusion, and hurt. I’m grieving that and working at change.
Is there relationships you struggle to ‘go there’ with?