Key Scripture: Philippians 2:3-4
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
I. Conflict Management Styles– CMS can usually be linked to personality levels of assertiveness (confidently direct) and cooperativeness (willingness to work toward a common objective).
A. Avoidance– usually non assertive and non cooperative behavior; indifferent to each others needs and real issues are usually ignored. Not a good long term strategy. Appropriate in trivial matters.
B. Accommodation– usually a non assertive and cooperative behavior; allow another’s needs to be met at the expense of your own. Appropriate when peace is more important to you than winning. Proverbs 19:11
C. Competitive– usually an assertive and non cooperative behavior; it’s about you and making sure your needs are met regardless of costs. Appropriate when defending Godly principles. Tends to be inefficient and it damages personal relationships. I want the whole pie attitude.
D. Collaborative– usually an assertive and cooperative behavior; attempts to see the issues from all sides; acknowledges and accepts differences; and explores alternative solutions to meet everyone’s needs.
It is important to understand your own CMS before you attempt to negotiate; will usually depend on your audience and the issue.
II. Negotiating Steps to Consider
A. Evaluate yourself- you need to be aware of your own biases and “hot button” triggers; doing so allows you to anticipate emotional responses in advance to avoid damage to a cooperative environment. Pray for the other person; it helps your attitude. Focus on the people and the problem. Philippians 4: 8
B. Know what is at stake– clarify your needs; know your facts; it highlights priorities and allows for the exploration of solutions; ask the following: Matthew 5: 25-26
- Best result if not settled?
- Worst result if not settled?
- Most likely result if not settled?
This will help understand how a negotiated settlement can meet your needs better than the alternatives.
C. Time and Place– time must be acceptable and appropriate for everyone involved; location must feel safe; want to feel safe taking risks in communication.
D. Listen– natural tendency to speak to make sure the other person knows our needs; by listening first, we improve the likelihood that our concerns will be understood; it may help you understand them better; eye contact important; don’t talk over the other person. Use the following response techniques: James 1: 19-20
- Encourage– you want to know their side
- Clarify– don’t assume; let them know you want more information so you can understand
- Validate- show empathy and appreciation for their feelings
- Body language and expressions- be careful on messages you send
E. Assert your needs– be clear and concise while respecting the needs of the other person. Luke 8: 33-37
- Be prepared for hostile responses; they won’t necessarily use the same listening strategies or have a cooperative personality.
- Use responses to clarify differences
- Use responses to evaluate differing needs
F. Be Flexible– once the issues are clear it is important to approach solutions with an open and creative mind. Joshua 17: 3-4
- Brainstorm multiple solutions or options
- Defer judgment to keep open dialogue
- Stay focused
- Be objective and reasonable
- Memorialize understandings
Dealing with gridlock– failure to reach resolution can lead to anger and/or withdrawal from the process; expect this possibility; remain calm and patient.
- Take a break
- Reframe the issue
- Breakdown the problem into manageable issues
- Reality check of non-negotiated alternatives
H. Seal the deal– Ask the following: Proverbs 16: 11
- Is it fair?
- Is it balanced?
- Is it realistic?
- Is it specific enough?
- Does it rely on others to enforce?
- Is it future oriented?