27″Last night’s conversation was very impressive. Your hearts were open, and your ability to use the tools was superb. I hope that conversation is one of many signposts on your journey as athletes…and leaders, that marks a place you learned and grew.” Jeff Williams, Counselor-Mediator, Cyclist
As a director working with a team of eager young men, we used the PAIRS® method to resolve a conflict with great success! The inevitable change-up in pecking order when a rider surpasses another’s leadership on the road frequently leads to conflict within teams. Anytime the status quo changes, opposition increases. The dominant roles on teams are frequently in flux, even within the same event, and it takes care and communication to make smooth transitions among egos in competitive evolution. Sometimes riders can get a bit full of themselves with more success and become a little less appreciative of team. Bike racing being as it is, time often wears down the sharp edges of disagreement by displacing arrogance into cautious confidence.
In the meantime, conflict resolution is a must. Several factors come into play. There must be a clear authority who desires resolution among difficult or brawling parties, and it helps if that authority has neutral reinforcement. We brought in a mediator. The mediator ruled the framework of the discussion; I as director offered clarification but in procedural order; the disputing teammates listened to each other’s perspective, then responded in an orderly method. They traded pace in describing their frustrations.
I was really proud as these young men, vehemently, but with dignity laid out their grievances about one another. We gave them the forum to discuss the thing fully allowing each to listen to the other’s full report. This process gave both men understanding and constructive ways to modify for better teamwork. Years later, these same two were members of a winning team time trial squad. This was a redeeming finish for a fighting past!
Prayer for Conflict Resolution
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” 28Romans 12:18
We are thankful for a principle of harmonious living. We confess we war for our rights. We ask for ways to express our privileges which lead to peaceful and effective relationships.
Ponder Do I need outside counsel to mediate a conflict? Affirm I seek help to be heard and to listen. Watch for persons who can help end disagreement by offering a forum for objective discussion.
27Follow-up email by Jeff Williams, who acted as Mediator for this conflict resolution. His work has helped thousands of couples to save and improve their marriages. We thought he was more than qualified to assist in a team misunderstanding.
28The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society