An exasperated client texted me, “I am going to have to confront a key employee.” Knowing the two of them, I recognized this had the potential to end badly; I also knew they both have the skills to move through this with great ideas and understanding.
I believe there is a false narrative in our western culture: I must be confrontational to be effective.
There are two sides to this coin. And, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “I hate confrontation,” I’d be writing this from Hawaii!
One side of the coin is the person who is very comfortable with confrontation. He or she often is labeled as a bully or another b-word.
The other side is the person who prefers to flee rather than communicate.
Both believe they have to be confrontational to be effective. This is just not true.
Our media and entertainment reinforce this idea. But, who wants to live in a drama?
If you’ve experienced aspects of Spiral Impact, you’ve heard me describe the difference between power and force. Confrontation is force that goes directly against another. Confrontation is derived from Greek ‘with’ and ‘face’. Power is a spiral.
When I first received my client’s text, I shot back a few short reminders:
- Avoid face-to-face go for a walk with this person
- Remember and state your intention upfront
- Plan ahead the open ended questions to ask
- And, of course, center
Ninety minutes later, another text: “Thank you. We walked and talked all is well.” Ahhh – Yes!