Do you ponder conflict? I do. I know there are some out there who believe there is nothing better than a good fight. I have a good bit of Italian blood in my veins and am not usually one that hides from conflict, but do we ever really stop to think about conflict? I’m not talking about what caused the conflict, but I am thinking about the conflict itself.
If I think about it, conflicts usually arise when I am self-centered. It is really about what is in us—not about what’s happening around us. Pressure uncovers the origins of conflict. There are three aspects of being self-centered: cravings, desire, and greed.
Cravings are a self-indulgent attitude of excess-focusing on physical gratification.
Desires are really a lust for something or someone, setting our hearts on what does not belong to us.
Greed is rooted in envy often using dark means to get what we want—perhaps stealing. We set our sights on an object and pursue it at all costs.
What about my motives in a conflict? Are they diseased or sick? When I focus on me in a conflict, I usually scheme, tell my side of the story, and attempt to align allies against a person—not necessarily a cause.
When I pursue this selfish agenda, it becomes very temporal, material, or “worldly.” If I blame others, my bet is I have totally failed to identify the true source of the issue. To honestly resolve conflict we have to identify it’s source and not simply attack one another, play “politics,” or assume this is simply normal behavior.
I would further offer as a leader, the above traits equate to a true Personal Power (P2) leader.
As a Greater Good (G2) leader, we need to examine conflict differently and solve it.
The first step is humbling myself. Interesting that in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, he acknowledges the highest level leader—the level FIVE leader is one that manifests The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve.
The second step is submitting to God. This might sounds way deep, but think about it this way—submission to God does not remove conflict but it really does remove the pressure to resolve it on my own. There is some inner conflict that must be resolved before I can reach any sort of inner peace.
The third step is acknowledging my inner Obi Wan Kenobi and resisting the dark side or evil. This dark side leads to slander and speaking falsely against anyone not conveniently aligned with my way of thinking. No matter the belief system there has to be an acknowledgment of our duality—recognize this and don’t be played by confusion, stress, hurt feelings, disappointment, anger, and chaos. I have to always remember we live in a world of crisis, complexity, and confusion. To combat that world, I must deploy the proper counter-measures—communication, collaboration, and creative thinking and living—this is at the very center of the Greater Good leader.
Finally I need to get to the root of my internal issue. I guess I look at it this way—are my hands and heart clean? By hands I consider this to be my outward behavior or my conduct and by heart I mean my inward behavior and my attitude. Once those are aligned to an attitude of the greater good, I can address the conflict.
Bottom line— when faced with conflict, the Greater Good leader will approach it with humility, submit it to God, resist the dark side, and get to the root of any personal issue. This in turn will lead to a healthy resolution of the issue and promote an inner peace. I know often times I need to take an honest and deep look inside to fully understand my part in the conflict. So—live in peace, expand impact, achieve purpose, and DO GOOD!