My friend Matt has a great four-part blog post about conflict – it’s really good. At Credera we lean into conflict and Matt is one of the best “leaners” around. Since we don’t like unresolved conflict we tend to get pretty good at resolving it. We have tons of opportunity to practice since living in a fallen world creates all kinds of opportunities for conflict to emerge. It’s also hard work, but worth it.
I was recently in a “conflict resolution meeting” and in the heat of battle I blurted something out that I can’t shake. It went something like this: “I am sick of being good at conflict. I want to practice loving each other!” I may have actually yelled a little, just for affect.
Now before you get all freaked out, let me explain what I mean by love. I certainly don’t mean the romantic kind of love – I will reserve that for my wife (and highly recommend you do too). I actually was thinking of a verse in the Bible that defines love this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
What if we applied this definition of love to business relationships? What if our relationships and the way we worked with one another were marked by the words highlighted in bold above?
Read through the words again and think about living your day with those words in mind. Actually, pick your weakest area and just try working on that one word for a day. If you struggle with being patient, try to be patient for a whole day. If you struggle with anger, try to make it through a whole day at peace no matter what happens to you. I bet you would have a markedly different day than the day before. Put them all together and, well, I can’t imagine what would happen.
So the question is, if we could love one another more would we have to be good at conflict? I am not sure, but it would be fun to try.