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I don’t know a single leader that loves organizational tension, conflict or awkward conversations. I also don’t know a single leader that doesn’t love team unity, resolution, and understanding.

Unfortunately, the team you want to lead doesn’t come without the conversations you don’t want to have.

God has given you a vision for your ministry and values to get you there.  These values lived out are what we call culture. As your ministry and leadership grow, you will encounter opposition to the culture. Usually, this opposition comes from well-meaning team members. Navigating these cultural issues can be difficult, but with the right relational tools, it’s possible to unify your team under the vision and accomplish much.

Here’s a step by step guide that will prepare you for having hard conversations:

  1. Identify every hard conversation that you need to have with the leaders serving in your ministry.
  2. Contact each one and schedule out a meeting with them within the next 7 days.
  3. Make notes before the meeting, so you have a clear direction as to where the conversation is going.

Once in these meetings, you will need relational tools to not only confront the issue at hand but also protect the relationship. Here are a few tools to help:

  1. Value the person — This leader volunteered to help you. Regardless of the conflict, this speaks volumes about their heart for ministry. Let them know how valuable they are and how much you appreciate them.
  2. Communicate the common goal — It’s important that the leader in your ministry knows that you are in this together for the same purpose.
  3. Be honest in addressing the issue — Speak specifically to the way they are violating the culture as well as paint a picture for the kind of leader you know they can be.
  4. Allow them to be heard — This will assure them that you are for them and not against them. It might also give you some insight into ways of improving your communication or leadership style.
  5. Encourage them — Once again, let them know how valuable they are to the ministry and how much you appreciate them.

By default, your leaders will want to take the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, that path rarely changes lives and makes a big impact. By challenging your leaders, you change your leaders and change proceeds growth.

Confrontation is not easy, but it is worth it.

-Daniel Maddry