Most people hate confrontation and will do whatever they can to avoid it.
What if I told you that I believe when we truly care about people we will not shy away from confronting them? What if confronting is a form of coaching people forward? What if confrontation is actually a very valuable part of problem-solving, conflict resolution, and organizational progress?
It’s understandable that confrontation can seem hard for most people since the standard definition implies a hostile conversation involving accusations and argumentative tones. However, I believe that the highest form of trust is built when healthy confrontation takes place.
Confrontation doesn’t have to be a bad word.
It doesn’t have to send you into immediate “fight-or-flight” mode at the mention of needing to confront someone, or even when you are confronted by someone else.
Let’s start by redefining confrontation.
Think of confrontation as speaking the truth in a way that helps the other person move in the right direction. Maybe you’ve heard “speak the truth in love.” This doesn’t always mean in soft tones or beating around the bush of a tough conversation. It will include accountability, honesty, and vulnerability for anyone involved in the conversation to create an environment for healthy and productive confrontation.
If you are leading people and think that looking past bad attitudes, sweeping issues under the rug, or talking about a person’s mistakes to everyone in the world except the actual person, then you are an unhealthy leader who is bringing a destructive culture into your workplace, family, school, or relationships. Sooner or later, the culture that is created when the truth is not brought into your conversations will dismantle trust, integrity, organizational values, and overall motivation.
The greatest organizations to be a part of and to work for are organizations that care enough to confront. The Bible encourages church leaders and Christ followers to develop relationships that care enough to confront just look at Matthew 18 as a prime example.
I’m on a mission to help leaders (and anyone who will listen!) get better at confronting others as well as getting better at being confronted, so I created 21 questions or prompts to equip you for healthy confrontation. If you want all 21, click the subscribe now button at the bottom of the page. You'll receive a pdf of seven questions to consider before you have a confronting conversation, seven prompts to consider during a confrontation, and seven reminders if you are the one being confronted. But here's a few just to get you started:
Before you engage in conversation or confrontation ask yourself these questions:
1) What is the problem that needs to be talked about?
2) What am I hoping to accomplish?
Some things to remember in confrontation:
1) Ask questions that point towards the topic/area you want to address.
2) Speak to one issue at a time.
How to respond to confrontation:
1) Answer questions honestly and openly.
2) Listen to understand, not react.
Let’s get better at having tough conversations. Let’s get better at coaching people forward. Let’s get better at allowing others a doorway into our lives to coach us forward through confrontation.