High Cost of Avoiding Confrontation
What do all of these hot leadership topics have in common?
Often I talk to folks in my workshops and they tell me that they HATE confrontation. That led me take a look at what confrontation really IS and what that word really means.
The root of the word comes from frons meaing forehead. It originates from Latin word com– meaning “together” + frontem (nominative frons) meaning “forehead.” So confront literally means come together forehead to forehead. The Medieval Latin confrontārī means to stand face to face with. That’s it. No combat or hostility needed… just face it.
I believe that the stories we tell ourselves about this word are much more frightening to us than the actual act of confronting. So, let’s rewrite our stories. We all have the ability and capacity to do that.
The Costs of Not Confronting
A common myth quoted from the February 2014 Wall Street Journal article: “Executives who avoid workplace conflicts get ahead. [The truth is] their advancement stalls.”
A Senior VP at a large health care company lost a key promotion because he never argued with or confronted those who disagreed. According to Judith Glaser, it’s not that firms want contentious leaders but those who retreat from confrontation tend to postpone hard decisions and allow problems to fester.
The stories we tell ourselves about confrontation are often passed down from well-intentioned folks.
“I was raised to be polite. It’s rude to disagree.”
What are the results of these stories? You probably see some of the results in your work teams, in your families, in your community organizations, etc.
Studies show that 95% of a company’s workforce struggles to speak up to their colleagues about their concerns. They engage in resource-sapping avoidance tactics which may look like:
What is the cost?
Confronting is all about your willingness to perceive!
Confronting is a key if not THE key leadership competency. Communication doesn’t happen without confrontation…coming together forehead to forehead.
5 Initial Steps to Confronting
Note to planners & perfectionists:
If it were comfortable and easy, it wouldn’t be growth. It would be normal and usual. It would be who you already are.
There is never a “perfect” time… never a time when you are totally equipped for confrontation because it would not stretch you and there would be no growth.
I believe you will find the same to be true for confronting.
“The success of confronting is in the confronting – it is not in the result of confronting. Of course it is natural in confronting to want the best, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.”
Take steps today to confront something that has been bothering you. Remember, you don’t have to resolve the issue for it to add value to you and the world. You are worth it!
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