Deal with conflict wisely. Conflict is inevitable, but it’s not the worst thing that could happen. It’s better than plateau and decline in your organization. Conflict can be good for your organization by helping you and those you lead look at issues in new ways and think through solutions to problems. Ask God to help you discern the difference between mean-spirited, disruptive conflict and healthy, constructive conflict. Confront people who are simply trying to cause trouble and levy consequences on them, but encourage appropriate debate and disagreement that can lead to making your organization stronger. Take full responsibility for your own part in conflicts. Do everything you can to resolve conflicts and make peace.

Encourage respect among members of your team. Give the people you lead plenty of opportunities to have frank and uncomfortable discussions with you in private, but emphasize that in public, you all honor each other as a cohesive team. Encourage vigorous discussion about important issues and let the corporate wisdom shape decision making. Involve everyone in your process of making tough calls. But let people know that, after the final decisions are made, they must accept them or move on. 

Protect your family. Don’t let the pressures of your leadership position spill over into your family life in harmful ways. Shield your family members from unnecessary stress. 

Be kind. The people who follow you will work best with you if you’re consistently kind to them. Ask God to give you the confidence you need to feel secure in who you are and what you’re doing. That confidence will help you be kind to others.

Move on after failure. Learn from your failures and try again after them. Invite God to redeem your mistakes and ask Him to help you overcome your setbacks.

Seek strength from the Spirit. Check in with the Holy Spirit often to guide your decisions. Before making a decision, weigh risks and options; evaluate motives; and consider timing, consequences and issues. But then be courageous enough to make the tough call, and to live with your decision.  


Adapted from Tough Calls: Game-Winning Principles for Leaders Under Pressure, copyright 2008 by Travis Collins.  Published by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, Al., www.newhopepublishers.com.                 

For more than 25 years, Dr. Travis Collins has helped people around the world discern and live God’s call for their lives. After accepting a Virginia pastorate in 2002, he implemented a call discernment program for the church members. This program helped two members discover God’s call for them to go into full-time ministry. Experienced as both a pastor and a missionary in Venezuela and Nigeria, Travis has written extensively for church leadership, preaching, and mission journals. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and earned his master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Travis and his wife, Keri, are the parents of three children: Landon, Brennan, and Grant.  He and his family live in Richmond, Virginia.