By Phil Klutts
November 30, 2023

Navigating conflict in the workplace

Discover how Biblical principles can guide us in resolving workplace conflicts.

Conflict seems to be everywhere. The newsreels and our lives are full of acute and ongoing conflicts, from international disputes to close relationships with our family and colleagues. Although it would be great to live in complete peace, we know that conflict is a part of life, and we must deal with it. This is especially true at work. Most of the conflict we deal with is manageable and even expected in some situations but should not be ignored.

Our faith should be the foundation for resolving conflict in the workplace. Resolving disagreements with compassion, understanding, and respect can result in better outcomes relationally, financially, and operationally while also reducing future conflicts.

Here are six Biblical principles for dealing with conflict in the workplace.

1. Be a Peace Maker (Matthew 5:9): “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Encourage an environment where individuals actively work to prevent conflict through understanding and respect for others rather than fostering competition that could lead to disputes.

2. Offer Forgiveness (Colossians 3:13): “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Foster a culture of forgiveness, allowing for mistakes and learning from them rather than harboring resentment.

3. Communicate Honestly and Gently (Ephesians 4:15): “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Promote direct, open, and honest communication, but always with compassion and understanding, avoiding harsh criticism or blame.

4. Examine Yourself and the Perspective of Others (Matthew 7:5): “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Encourage individuals to consider their own role in a conflict before pointing out the fault in others, which helps in understanding different perspectives.

5. Seek Wise Counsel (Proverbs 15:22): “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Use a coach or mentor to help you work through conflict. In cases of more significant conflict, seeking mediation or advice from a respected third party can provide objective insight and guidance.

6. Be A Servant (Mark 10:44-45): “And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We should all adopt a service mindset, putting the needs of others first and facilitating an environment of respect and dignity.

Navigating the waters of conflict, especially in our professional environment, doesn’t always come naturally. However, by rooting our actions in these Biblical principles, we find guidance towards more harmonious interactions that do not compromise our integrity or beliefs. These tenets remind us that the goal isn’t to avoid conflict but to approach it with a heart geared toward reconciliation and understanding.

When we embody the roles of peacemakers and servants, prioritize open-hearted communication, and embrace forgiveness, we reflect a strength that transcends beyond mere conflict resolution strategies — we mirror the values that forge resilient, compassionate communities. In doing so, not only do we create a more supportive workplace, but we also carry these invaluable lessons into every aspect of our lives, fostering peace in a world that dearly needs it.

So, as we step into our workplaces, let’s remember that each interaction is an opportunity to practice these principles, contributing to a culture that upholds respect, empathy, and genuine care for one another.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.