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Confrontation - Turning the Tables | Doug Thorpe - Leadership Powered by Common Sense

Confrontation – Turning the Tables

In my last blog, I spoke about confrontation from the viewpoint of the manager initiating the moment. Now it’s time to talk about a response or reaction from the viewpoint of the recipient.

You must realize that confrontation comes in many forms from many sources. Being able to prepare yourself with solid, professional, and emotionally mature responses provides a launching pad for growth and development.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]If you refuse to be coached, you are refusing change. [/shareable]

Change is a given in all aspects of life. The sooner you embrace change and look at it as an opportunity, the better you will feel about the world around you.

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Methods and Motivations

Previously, I wrote about these four elements that can create positive results from confrontation.

  • Make sure the confrontation involves the violation of a clear standard of conduct or principle.
  • The goal must be correction, not condemnation.
  • Confrontation should be executed in private.
  • Don’t expect the process to be pleasant.

How Should You Respond?

When you are confronted, ask yourself, “am I hearing a corrective action or an assertion of a personal expectation”. When you have been confronted and sense more condemnation than correction, it is time to make a stand. Again, it can be done respectfully but firmly. Your response could be something like “I am hearing a tone of condemnation rather than correction”.

If you find yourself as “the offender” and the confrontation is starting to happen in wide open spaces, kindly ask if the discussion could be taken behind closed doors. There are several reasons to do this.

  • The primary reason is to help your superior keep face if in fact, you stand ground and are able to diffuse or reverse then entire matter. Give them the dignity to retreat in private.
  • If it truly is a corrective action, then you deserve the respect to be confronted privately.
  • Plus, a more candid and open discussion can be accomplished in private. If you hear the correction and have questions about how to meet the new expectation, you can hash that out more effectively in private.

Worst case, if your request to take the matter private is not honored, then you must decide to endure it. It’s not pleasant to be forced to do that, but if the person bringing the matter to you is not willing, then the chips must fall as they may. You can always arrange to circle back at another time to have a private discussion and avoid a big pubic blow up. In the long run, you will be respected for doing it this way.

Experiencing an uncomfortable moment of confrontation is unpleasant for any of us. Trying to find the silver lining is the best spirit though. Try to listen intently and embrace what is being offered. Grasp a total understanding of what the other person is saying before you formulate your reaction or response.

Remember there is a difference. If we react to a medicine that is bad, but if we respond to it, that is good. Confrontation given with the right methods and with the right motivation is a good medicine. We should always be able to respond in a positive way.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]Confrontation given with the right methods and with the right motivation is a good medicine. [/shareable] [reminder]How do you usually respond to confrontation?[/reminder]

About the Author Doug Thorpe

Hi, I am Doug Thorpe. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, and business coach.

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2 comments
Doug Thorpe says January 18, 2016

Good morning and Happy New Year, Doug!

Enjoyed your blog this morning. I am having a little hard time understanding the difference between condemnation and correction. I wonder if anyone else could benefit from some sample comparative dialogue.

Hope you are well.

Patricia

Reply
    Doug Thorpe says January 18, 2016

    Patricia,

    Thank you for asking. You raise a very good point, one which I truly believe many people question too. So here is the easiest example I can share.

    You miss a deadline at work. It’s not the end of the world, but nonetheless, it was an important deadline.

    Corrective action by the Boss would be: “Patricia, the deadline for X was missed. I am concerned. We need to talk about what happened. Also, we need to talk about ways that future deadlines like this one will not be missed. Is there something I could have done to help you meet that deadline?”

    Condemnation from the Boss would sound like this: ” You’ve got to be kidding me. How in the world could you be so incompetent to let this slide by? Are you just _______ or are you trying to get me fired? What is wrong with you?”

    The condemnation sounds like you are being attacked as a person. The corrective action focuses on the task/event/circumstance.

    I hope this helps.

    Reply
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