Have you ever been in a situation where you were called out publicly, or someone reprimanded you, confronted you publicly? Maybe in a large group? Or in your organization in front of maybe two or three other people? It’s incredibly embarrassing and shaming. I don’t believe that ought to be the norm at all.
Sometimes an offense done in public ought to be addressed in public, but it should always be addressed personally first, in my view. So Step Number Eleven in Conflict Resolution is Deal with Conflict Personally. Don’t confront people in a general setting. If you have a problem with someone or a conflict to resolve, go to them personally. If they don’t want to resolve it then you can bring it to others.
In fact, there’s a great bit of wisdom in the book of Matthew in the Bible. It goes like this, “If your brother has done something against you, go to him in private and try to resolve it. If he doesn’t respond, then go with two or more to get clarity.” Not to beat up on the person but to get clarity, because you may be wrong.
If it’s found out that that person is off target and responsible for a problem, then that issue could be brought before the leaders of the organization. In the case above, it was the church. If the guilty person didn’t respond when confronted, he or she could be moved outside of the church — excommunicated essentially.
Now that sounds pretty harsh, but that’s the process of dealing with conflict when people get recalcitrant, or get stuck and won’t move forward. The key, though, is to begin by going to people personally, and dealing with conflict personally, not publicly, whenever you can.
Another aspect of this is don’t talk to someone else about the conflict before you talk to the person unless it’s truly to get counsel or coaching or wisdom, in a very closed tight one-on-one situation. Certainly, don’t gossip to others about a conflict. Go to the person. Be brave. Speak the truth but with kindness and compassion. Go to that person personally and seek to resolve it in person. Deal with conflict personally.
And please share your comments, questions and insights below. Finally, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.