Good team communication goes way beyond not having conflict. In fact, conflict is inevitable and can actually lead to growth for your team. Many people think they are good at communicating but the reality is, few people actually have been trained to deal with conflict. When conflict arises, you want some practical information and tools to help you know what to do. Resolving conflict is actually a key part of having a healthy worship team in every regard and the healthier your team is, the better they’ll be at leading others in worship.

Four Basic Emotions

Glad, Mad, Sad, Fearful. These are the four basic emotions that make up the human psyche. Some emotions like embarrassment are a strange mix of all. Many are part of the mix: glad (being the center of attention), mad (not wanting to stand out), fearful (not wanting to fail at appearing popular or with it). When listening to different people, it’s important to identify what key emotions they’re experiencing so you can begin to better understand them. Again, sometimes there are several emotions at play, but these key emotions are always there.

Apply Active Listening, Summarizing, and Reflecting

Ask helpful questions to clarify things the other party is saying to show that you are actively engaged in the conversation. Summarize key thoughts that you feel hold the majority of the emotion or content of their message. Focus on reflecting upon what they are saying by asking questions. If they say, “I was embarrassed in this situation,” it’s as simple as following with the one-word question, “Embarrassed?” This will usually open up other doors of conversation and opportunity to explore with the individual.

Shoot for a Win / Win Scenario

Many people feel that if they win in conflict, the other person must lose, or vice versa. Many times, people feel that it is the spiritual thing to be humble and simply let yourself be stepped on and lose a conflict. However, it’s possible that you and the other person both be heard and understood. This is actually the best way to end a conversation and something we should all aim for.

Emphasize Connection over Content

If we are always focused on tasks, people will grow weary of just feeling like a cog in the machine or another project to be fixed. People want to know that you genuinely care and that you have a connection with them that goes beyond just information. With that being said, content is important but it must always be delivered in the context of relationship. This is what Jesus did and it stands to reason that we should do the same.

Focus on “I” Messages

When there are conflicts, make sure to focus on how you feel and not on what the other person did. These are already highly energized situations that have the potential to go south quickly if not handled correctly. People take offense and things can get out of hand quickly. Make sure to take away every opportunity for people to grow offensive at your comments by keeping it focused on how you feel. For example, rather than saying, “You always leave me out of the conversations with the worship leaders and it’s no fun,” you might consider rephrasing it to, “I feel sad when I’m left out of this conversation with the other worship leaders. I would love to be included in that process more often.”

Involve Your Team

People rarely have to see eye to eye on everything to be able to work together. Most often, if someone know they are heard and respected, they will respect the other person as well. Therefore, many conflicts can be prevented simply by letting your team know that you value their opinion and that you hear them, even though you might not see eye to eye. There will be times where you will have people on your team that you don’t totally “click” with or gel with. In fact, that is usually the case! It’s rare to have a team where everyone is totally pleasant to be around all the time. If you often include your team in conversations and, when appropriate, team decisions, it will increase the morale of your team and serve as a reminder that you’re all in this together. If they feel like they are being dictated to rather than led graciously through respect and care, it won’t be long before your team members are seeking to leave your team and go elsewhere. Include your team whenever you can and include them in the solution to whatever your team is facing. If there’s a difficulty a member is having with a song, a set, a rehearsal schedule, etc., hear them out and listen. After this you can offer the appropriate response to help guide them and you will usually be met with open ears and an open heart.

If you focus on applying these six principles to your communication with your team and other relationships, you will see the quality of not only your relationships improve, but also the quality of your worship team’s relational health and functionality in ministry.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Which of the four basic emotions are you most comfortable with identifying and dealing with in conflict? Which of the four do you have the hardest time identifying and dealing with? Discuss.
  4. Are you very good at active listening? What could you do to be better at it?
  5. If you were to describe yourself as a communicator from a friend’s perspective, what do you think they would say? Do you feel that is an accurate description of where you are at in your health as a communicator?
  6. Do you view conflict as a potential win / win situation? Why or why not?
  7. Are you wired for focusing on connection or content in relating to others? If you are weak in one of these areas, what might you do to balance them out more?
  8. How effective are you at applying “I” messages in communication? What might be some of the benefits of communicating in this way?
  9. Reflect on the most recent conflict you have had with someone. How might have applying some of these principles helped that situation?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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