Where Workplace Conflict Resolution Starts

The workplace has a mix of people with different backgrounds, personalities, and expectations. In addition, people bring with them to work their concerns and stresses, emotional struggles, frustrations, and anger. All of these can be brought into the workplace in varying degrees. Though employees are told to keep their personal problems out of work, being under such pressure can have an effect on how they respond to the people and circumstances around them. Also, those who have relationship issues outside of work tend to project them on others in the work setting.

From the corporate side, companies dealing with employ problems have concerns that these could escalate; in worse case scenarios even to the point of violence. Often times a special department such as Human Resources (HR) is created within the company to deal with and seek to resolve such employee problems. This department also helps to interpret the legal ramifications of employ rights and company policy. This, of course, is needed and helpful; however, there can be a down side to this, which can further complicate problems instead of solving them. You may ask, “How?” When a problem arises between two employees they are often served an “injunction” which forbids them to have contact with or talk to one another about their dispute or possible solutions. Such a process tends to minimize their personal responsibility to be a part of the solution and blocks the prospect of restoring their relationship.

God offers some practical wisdom on the subject that would be helpful to individuals and companies in dealing with such problems. First of all, God’s instructions seek to keep the problem from spreading to others when appropriate. How? By asking both sides of a conflict to take the initiative and make steps to meet in order to discuss and try to work it out. This is not always easy, but simply saying, “We want good relationships in our company” is not enough. Instead, well defined statements that describe how relationships should be maintained with some practical steps to resolve conflict are necessary. Such steps would encourage both sides to discuss and define the problem, to reflect on their own contribution and personal responses that create and/or continue to foster the problem, and to engage in mutual discussion about needed steps toward resolving it. Of course, there can be tough and complicated employee matters that need to be handed directly over to HR, but many of the lesser problems could be handled without legal assistance. Such a “Work It Out” policy keeps the problems from escalating and also makes a statement that the company is interested in encouraging their employees to work out issues  amongst themselves and take responsibility for doing so.

It may appear easier to appeal to someone else to solve my problems. However, God’s way is for me to personally take the first steps and become a part of the solution. It is a false notion to think, “The less I have to deal with people problems the more time I will have for ministry that really matters!” The truth is…only when I understand that I am God’s instrument in all of life’s issues, am I ready to be a participant in God’s ministry and experience His provisions. (PMC)

“We urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1Thessalonians 5:14)