Conflict & Ethical Decision Making: A Christian Leader’s Guide

Challenging situations are inevitable. As a leader, you understand this and are faced with tough decisions on a regular basis. But while decision making is an important part of your job description, the task isn’t easy, and conflict resolution is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. For Christian CEOs and business leaders, ethical decision-making skills are crucial. Not only should you strive to do what is right, but consider the impact your choices will have on others. As you work on making the best possible decisions, the C12 Group has some practical tips for ethical decision making based on Biblical principles.

1. Substantiate the Facts
When someone comes to you with a conflict, gather as much information as possible. More often than not, there are several sides to the story. It is your job to be approachable and proactive. Talk with as many people involved in the situation as possible. Look at the history behind the issue, not merely the issue itself. This takes time and energy but it is a vital part of the process and lays the groundwork of your ability to make an ethical decision.

2. Pursue the Truth
Take time to think through the information that has been gathered. Ask yourself hard questions about the political environment, as well as the interpersonal dynamics involved. Sometimes, there is an “issue behind the issue” – and that is where the true conflict lies. Unless you address the heart of the problem, it will likely arise again.

3. Develop Alternative Solutions
Think you’ve found the right solution? Now is the time to challenge your own thinking and develop possible alternatives. Think outside the box and weigh your options. Even if one approach sticks out in your mind as best, brainstorming can help you confirm your instinct. At this stage, you may also want to consider discussing the issue with a trusted advisor (if possible without violating confidentiality).

4. Consider the Consequences
Now that you have developed several possible solutions, create a list of pros and cons for each one. The immediate reactions and outcomes may come to mind quickly, but consider the long-term repercussions of each solution. Until these outcomes are considered, no leader can be certain that they have made the best decision for all parties involved.

5. Leave Time for Reflection
Once you arrive at a conclusion, avoid acting hastily and sleep on it if possible. Any important decision – especially one that will impact others – should be reflected upon. You’ve done your brainstorming, you’ve consulted with trusted advisors, but don’t neglect to consult with the ultimate source of wisdom. Prayer often provides insight that no other source can.

6. Stand For What is Right
You have made a decision. You avoided acting on impulse and took the prudent approach. Now it’s time to communicate with your team. Be clear, compassionate, and confident in your delivery. As all leaders learn, you must be willing to be unpopular in some situations, but rest in the fact that you’ve followed a process for sound decision making. And remember, the short-term pain of conveying a difficult decision is pale in comparison to the long-term peace of knowing you did the right thing.

c12Group-Triad-Photos3-034A Partner for Growth
As your business grows and evolves, the ability to navigate conflict will contribute directly to your success. Having those trusted advisors who encourage you to pursue Biblical wisdom can make all the difference. C12 Group is an environment where Christian business leaders and CEOs support each other while exploring MBA level concepts for effectively running a company. Find a group near you today or learn more about becoming a chair leader.