Events this week at my business and in my personal life outside of business have brought home once again just how important relationships are. Resolving conflict is essential to moving forward a small company or a ministry. But conflict cannot be fully resolved if one or both parties won’t own their part in the deterioration of the relationship. Some people just don’t see how their actions affect others. In order to implement innovation and change, one must also disrupt the status quo – even if the innovation is rather small and more tactical than strategic. Some will not be able to make the transition and their resistance will often surface in relationship conflict. Arrogance is always a danger with highly talented people and those who know their ministry well. I know I’ve been guilty of being incredibly arrogant. I routinely ask God to show me where I’ve been arrogant. Hardly a day, let alone a week, goes by where God doesn’t point out something I did or said that was arrogant. Regular confession of sin to God is essential for maturing in one’s walk with God. And for me, I can’t be the leader God wants me to be if I’m not regularly praying and confessing my sin to Him. I won’t hear His voice and I won’t develop the graciousness, love, patience and tolerance for other’s that is needed to lead a business, ministry or cause.
Incivility is a key contributor to relationship deterioration. One can be completely honest and right and yet lose the support, respect and attention of others due to incivility. You know, people rarely leave a company – instead, they leave a manager. When you’re a person who likes harmony like I do instead of discord in relationships, it’s difficult. But I’m learning that even the great men of faith in the Scriptures lived their lives in conflict with other people. While the Bible tells me to live in peace with others, the qualifier is added: “as much as it is within your power to do so”. IOW, even God recognizes that not all discord can be eradicated from relationships.
For me, business isn’t just about profits and ministry isn’t about fame. It really is about stewardship – tending to a business or ministry that God has entrusted to me. If you want to know who I’m accountable to – it’s God first. Yes, our customers, my partner Todd and my employees are near the top of the list, but my absolute first accountability is to God. Until I know I’m following Him, nothing else truly matters.