I love the scripture in Matthew 18 where Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.? I have used it so many times as a worship leader to remind people that God doesn?t need great numbers to gather before He is willing to show up. I have stood on this verse in times of great personal need and as I have prayed for the needs of others. Thank God that through Christ, we have the Holy Spirit who is literally with us when we gather.
It is important to remember this truth, because God?s presence is not the only thing near where two or three are gathered. There are also multiple perspectives and opinions, which can often lead to friction and even conflict. Where two or three are gathered, there is potential for great triumph or great disaster.[quote]Where two or three are gathered, there is potential for great triumph or great disaster.[/quote]
Here is what I know: you will face conflict with your team members, your fellow staff members, or your leaders regarding style, preference, excellence, etc. At some point, you will have to help resolve a conflict between musicians for which there is no clear right or wrong answer. You may even find yourself right in the middle of the battle.
These things will come, but do not wait until they are upon you to prepare yourself. There are some things you can do before you face those situations that will set you up to manage them well. Doing these things will also cut off many of these conflicts before they even have a chance to start.
Getting to Know You
The critical thing you must do to prepare for conflict management is to get to know yourself as a leader.
Getting to know yourself as a leader is an essential part of leading others. It is the place from which you begin every conversation and make every decision. You are the common denominator in every situation you face.[quote]You are the common denominator in every situation you face.[/quote]
I wish I could tell you that discovering who you are as a leader is an easy thing, but it is not. You have as many false assumptions about yourself as you do about others. You can easily believe lies about your own motives and beliefs. Learning your own leadership takes study and intentional effort. The good news is that it can be done, and if you want to mature as a leader, it must be done.
Begin by asking yourself questions like these and write down your answers:
- What happens when people step on my toes?
- What happens when my bass player disagrees with me publicly?
- How do I respond to negative or positive feedback from my pastor?
- What do I do when there?s a train wreck on stage?
- What are my hot buttons?
- What are my non-negotiables?
- Where do I fall on the scale of leadership?
- Am I a “my way or the highway” kind of leader or an extreme people pleaser?
- On my worst days, am I a pushover or a jerk?
You need to search the history of your life for conflicts and try your best to find the answers to these questions. Think about times when you wish you had handled conversations with a volunteer differently. The better you understand yourself and your tendencies, the more effective you will be in any conflict. If you don?t understand how your perspective colors the way you see the situation, you could easily make matters worse and not better.[quote]The better you understand yourself and your tendencies, the more effective you will be in any conflict.[/quote]
As you research and write, you will begin to see the definition of your own leadership take shape. John Maxwell says, “The most dangerous thing in the world is a leader with an unexamined life.? Don?t lead any more with an unexamined life.
Maybe you?re going through a tough time in your leadership. You feel like you are being misunderstood or others are taking sides against you. Maybe you are in a great spot and aren?t experiencing a lot of conflict. Either way, I encourage you to say this prayer as often as you can. Start by saying it today.
Search me, God, and know my heart;?test me and know my anxious thoughts.?See if there is any offensive way in me,?and lead me in the way everlasting.[quote]Friction is the only way that iron sharpens iron.[/quote]
I am praying that God will lead you in your search to know yourself as a leader and that He will lead you in your conflicts. Don?t run away from them. Know this: friction is the only way that iron sharpens iron. Where two or three are gathered together there will be friction, but God is also there in your midst to bring wisdom and peace. Healthy conflict should be an essential characteristic of your worship team and the Christian community as a whole.