Relational conflict is a fact of life. You either handle it well or poorly. If you think you can opt out of conflict, then chances are you are handling it poorly.
When we handle conflict poorly we rob hope from everyone, including ourselves. In a group context, the amount of hope stolen increases exponentially. When the boss refuses to address an employee’s irresponsible behavior the whole office pays the price. When a coach berates one player with constant criticism the whole team develops a losing attitude. When parents fight, children cower in fear and later mimic destructive behavior with friends. Handling conflict foolishly bankrupts people of their hope for — enjoyable relationships, winning teams, vibrant community and improved productivity.
Conflict is like fire. It’s not necessarily bad, but it is unavoidably powerful. Fire can burn down your house or keep you warm and cozy. By harnessing the power of fire we’ve civilized our world and discovered technological breakthroughs that touch nearly every area of life.
In the same way, you can harness the power of conflict and use it for good. There are untapped benefits found by addressing the issues that cause conflict. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High is an excellent book that will help you to face your fear of conflict. It provides practical tools and real life examples. It will help you tap into the hope building power found through resolving conflict.
After extensive research the authors confidently claim:
“The effects of conversations gone bad can be both devastating and far reaching. Our research has shown that strong relationships, careers, organizations, and communities all draw from the same power source — the ability to talk openly about high stakes, emotional and controversial topics. Master your crucial conversations and you’ll kick-start your career, strengthen your relationships and improve your health. As you and others master high stakes discussions, you’ll also vitalize your organization and your community.” (Chapter one – What is a crucial conversation?)
The book’s tools really work! However, the authors aren’t the first to use these tools. Jesus modeled them more than 2000 years ago. However their empirical research reaffirms that Jesus’ methods are still the best model for conflict resolution.