We are designed for relationship with one another, which influences every area of our lives. Dr. Glenn Pickering says that includes our job satisfaction. Surveys show that dissatisfaction at work is closely tied with relationships, too.

“If we like our job, it’s because we like the way people interact — lovingly, caring, or at least just factual. If it’s a job that we don’t like, it’s because the way we interact with people is either critical, or judgmental, or feels harsh to us.”

These negative responses can make us feel unsafe and isolated in our work environment. Dr. Pickering says this leads to conflict. Conflicts are created in the struggle between the individual urge to keep ourselves safe, and the communal need to keep one another safe.

“In community, we have to keep each other safe. In fact, even thinking I have to keep myself safe makes me unsafe, in the most powerful sense of that word. If Satan could get us all to believe one thing to make us so easy to manipulate, he would have us believe that we are alone.”

“That’s why God’s one promise to us is, ‘I’m always with you, you’re not alone.’ As soon as I fall into the lie of thinking I have to protect myself, I’m telling myself that I’m alone, and I’m literally set up for the worst possible outcome in my life, in that interaction, and in my life in general.”

Since most of us can’t choose our co-workers and colleagues, conflicts at work are virtually guaranteed. While you can’t control another person’s attitude or behavior, we can control our own, which causes ripple effects. Dr. Pickering reminds us of scriptural advice,

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“I call that the 90/10 Rule: all of us do stuff right about 90% of the time, and we mess up about 10%, that’s just kind of a given. I can always be looking for what people do wrong. But if we live in right relationship, we look for what people do right — and we tell it to them.”

“If I want to change even just my little circle of people around me, I can start looking for everything they do right, notice it, and make a point of telling him, ‘Thank you for helping me with that! That was really great.’  Or, ‘That went really well, you  handled that situation just perfectly.” Focus on what’s right, and try to create a little circle of grace around you. Even if you feel like you’re not in control of the larger environment, you don’t own the company, or manage things, you can still be working like crazy on my little circle, which will make a big difference.”


Dr. Glenn Pickering is, at heart, a scientist and a teacher. The TAG-related books and seminars that he and his wife, Gwen, have created contain the revolutionary insights, real-life examples, and concrete change strategies that have transformed people’s lives and that will help you to create the powerful, loving relationships you always wanted.

Facing conflict at work

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