This is Part 2 of a 3 part series on dealing with conflict:

 It's Time To Shift Your Perspective...

The way you handle conflict says a lot about you.

Handling conflict successfully says even more.

Many careers have been ruined by executives mishandling themselves in important disagreements.

As a coach, I’m frequently invited to help pastors when they’re in conflict. One of the most effective techniques I use with them is shifting their perspective.

When you’re caught in a conflict, it’s natural to get tunnel vision. All you can see is your opponent, their claims, and your defenses. And, because you’re human, you’re probably focused on your defenses the most… or the fastest way out of the room!

What you don’t see is what’s going on between you, inside you, and what’s driving both of you.

Imagine the two of you, standing toe-to-toe, in boxer’s stance, locked in conflict. Just a few feet away is a staircase, leading to a balcony. From the balcony, you can see in way that you can't from the floor…

This is the shift in perspective.

On this balcony, you are immediately able to access resources (discernment, objectivity, clarity) that were otherwise out of reach.

I invite you to climb the stairs, get to a higher vantage point, and look down… observe the two of you.

What exactly got both of you into this mess?

Break down the situation by asking yourself these 3 sets of questions:

  1. From up there, what is provoking your opponent? Apart from their tone, method, or manner, what did they actually say? What could be behind their words?
  2. From up there, what do you notice about your contribution to the breakdown?  Notice I didn’t say you caused the breakdown, but that you do have a contribution.
  3. From up there, how have you responded to the accusation so far?  Don’t resist considering your mood, tone of voice, and posture-of-heart. What might your response have communicated that you did not intend?

Give yourself permission to actually do this. Stop defending yourself, pleading your innocence, or attacking the other person long enough to get up to the balcony… pause, and look. Allow the balcony to resource you.

This isn’t just theory. I use the balcony when coaching myself. I encourage you to do the same.

Let me know how it goes!

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