Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Curveballs of Conflict

Life throws curveballs. These last couple days I have had surprising twists in my responsibilities that left me feeling like I was striking out. I have had to regroup and reprioritize to try to connect with all the things that need to be done and learn to hit all that life throws at me.

Leadership has curveballs, too. Just when you think you are in the zone and batting a thousand confidently, a twist of conflict can leave you feeling like you are striking out. You may not know how to deal with the new critical attitudes, attacks or misunderstandings that are speeding towards you. How do you as the leader deal with this menacing pitch and successfully knock it out of the ballpark?

Some time ago, Kristen and I interviewed Lyndsay Lambert of the Texas Home School Coalition asking her how to deal with various conflicts correctly. Lyndsay's years of leadership in local homeschool groups and at the state level have given her great insight to resolving conflict.

Today and each Wednesday for the next three weeks we will share an excerpt from this amazing interview. I know you will enjoy it.

To your success,

HGL: What are the main causes of conflict?

Lyndsay Lambert: I would say that the main causes are misunderstandings--differences in values and goals. Sometimes it is competition over resources. Then we have to admit it . . . it is sinful attitudes and desires. We are just sinful human beings sometimes.

HGL: If the cause is a difference of opinions, how would you deal with those causing the conflict within the group?

Lyndsay Lambert: I think that is a good question. Homeschoolers can be stong-willed and independent. I guess you wouldn't homeschool if you weren't. You will have differences of opinions because, let's say, different standards or different goals. Maybe your goal in homeschooling is not the same as somebody else's goal. Sometimes you can deal with that through negotiation. Get the parties together and talk about it and come to a point of agreement. A lot of my materials {to resolve conflict} come from They have a lot of good information on their website.

In their information, they talk about the PAUSE Principles of Negotiation.
In the PAUSE Principle, they first lay out the need to Prepare to begin a negotiation process. Prepare means to pray, get the facts, seek God and develop an opinion. The main thing you want to accomplish with negotiation is that you have got to get out of this is what I want. You need to get to the place where you are deliberately looking for solutions that are beneficial to everybody. The idea is to try to get everybody to cooperate.

The "A" of the PAUSE principle is that you Affirm relationships. This is showing general concern and respect for others. Let people know that you care about what they think, who they are. If they really understand that you're not just there just trying to beat them over the head with something and to get your way, but you really are concerned about them, you will get a lot further in your negotiation.

To be continued next week. . . .

No comments: