Thursday, August 1, 2013Some of life biggest challenges come from conflicts that develop between friends, acquaintances, family, and colleagues. Ephesians 6:19 reminds us how to use our mouths in such situations.
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…Ephesians 6:19
Healthy conflict resolution requires that we as Christ followers respond as Christ would have us to. Often we respond to others with a reaction instead of a reply. We snap off a negative response instead of a thoughtful reply.
Gentle replies don’t indicate a weakness; they indicate a godly strength.I use format called the Sandwich Technique as visual example in addressing a conflict.
The Sandwich Technique can be used when you need to address a conflict, deliver unpleasant news, resolve a conflict or make a constructive criticism. Compliments and positive statements “sandwich” each side of the unpleasant issue making it easier to digest.
- Begin the conversation with a genuine compliment and positive statement about the person in a non-judgmental, calm, and congenial tone of voice.
- When moving into the “meat” of the matter, use transition words such as regrettably, unfortunately, or however. Be specific. It’s best to state no more than two items to improve. This is not the time to air your laundry list of gripes.
- Remain calm throughout and speak in a low and even tone of voice. State the facts and don’t get emotional.
- Maintain an open and inviting body language. You don’t want to appear closed off, with your arms or hands folded.
- When an apology is warranted, don’t avoid it. Say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” and show sincere regret.
- Suggest specific ways to resolve the matter so the two of you can move forward.
- End with positive and encouraging statements that will help renew the relationship and allow everyone involved to feel good about the conversation that just took place.
Use a positive proactive response instead of a negative reactionary response.