When it comes to confrontation most people run the opposite direction. But even if it is a small issue, problems that go unsolved can hurt or even destroy a relationship. A small issue or conflict can cause you stress, keep you stuck in a rut, lose you clients or even lose you your job.
In other words, although it can be uncomfortable, confrontation is necessary! What you might not realize is it can be used to your advantage! Think of it as a secret weapon that will keep you less stressed out and strengthen business and personal relationships.
If you think back to some recent confrontations, you may feel like they didn’t go so well. Most people enter confrontations with the wrong motives, and therefore it can turn out messy, hurtful, and often times do more harm than good. Past confrontation is often what leads to the fear of future ones. The ironic part is that when conflict goes unsolved, it boils up and forces a very heated explosion.
So now that we’ve established confrontation is not only a good thing, but also one that will put you miles ahead of your peers, we can lay out the thought process to developing this oh-so-important skill set!
1. Identify your goal before you confront! Recognize that confrontation should be about restoration and unity. Confrontation should NOT be about listing everything a person has done wrong to you or dragging someone through the mud.
In most cases, both parties have the same goal. If it is a work relationship, you are both striving to accomplish something for the team or company. If it is a personal relationship you are likely both striving for the success and happiness of the family or group. It is likely you both WANT the same thing! Conflicts can hinder any or all of these mutual goals. As the saying goes, a house divided will not stand.
2. Forgiveness. Hint: this means you have to forgive them first, before the conversation takes place. The other person is likely just as afraid to confront you as you are to confront them! Make sure, right off the bat, that they know you aren’t holding any anger or bitterness towards them. If they feel like they need to defend themselves, the conversation is probably leading towards the list of everything-wrong-with-one-another.
3. Set a tone of encouragement! Find something nice to say, how they are always dependable or are a valuable asset to the team. Remember to be specific AND honest, play to their strengths!
4. Take responsibility. Whatever part you may have had in the conflict, own up to it. Admit your fault, and ask for their forgiveness.
5. Build the bridge. Now get to the conflict, and ask for their input how they think it can be resolved. "I’ve noticed there has been some tension between us. We both want to achieve the same goal, so how can we communicate in an effective way? What can I do to help?"
6. Correction. Sometimes all it takes is to clear the air and forgive each other. However, if there is some correction necessary, encourage, correct, encourage! If the conversation ever takes a bad turn, go back to the encouraging part!
7. Honor. In everything you do, say, and how you act, honor the other person. Be respectful!
This method can be us on bosses, spouses, coworkers, and friends. Being the person to step up and confront shows leadership. It isn’t always about who is right or wrong, it’s about achieving a common goal and working towards that. Don’t let YOUR ego get in the way of your goals! Clearing the air with others and taking that negative stress out of your life will free you more than being right ever will.