Dan Rockwell, also known as Leadershipfreak, writes a daily blog that is simply astounding with wisdom and insight - you must sign up! With his permission, I'm reposting a rather critical one that all leaders must read and address. When we don't deal with conflict, we inflict great damage on our organization. Here's how to address it. Thank you Dan, for letting me repost!
12 WAYS TO OVERCOME FEAR AND CONFRONT LIKE A MASTER
Excellence requires confrontation.
Leaders who can’t confront:
- Live with nagging frustration.
- Fall below their potential.
- Lead unremarkable organizations.
4 reasons you avoid confrontation:
- Self interest. What if they get upset with you?
- False compassion. Real compassion confronts. False compassion avoids.
- Beliefs that confrontation is cruel. If confrontation isn’t helpful, don’t do it.
- Concern you won’t confront well.
12 ways to overcome fear and confront like a master:
- Believe in the ability of others. Protecting people prolongs weakness.
- Commit to serve others and make things better. Stress decreases the more you focus on serving others and bringing value.
- Reflect on past successes and failures, before confrontation. What worked? What didn’t work in the past? Confront your own failures or you’ll repeat them.
- Define what you want, but don’t practice (over-rehearse) what you say. Too much rehearsal makes you sound fake.
- Expand perspective. Pain limits perspective. All you think about is the toothache. Remember the big picture.
- Develop alternatives and chose one. Don’t look for “the” way. Find “a” way.
- Agree on issues. Confrontation means bringing up issues someone hasn’t acknowledged.
- Respond to defensiveness by asking, “What am I missing?”
- Use their language. One of the most challenging things I’ve heard was a simple question that contained my own words. I mentioned something I’d like to do, but had put on the back burner. He asked, “How could you move this to the front burner?” I immediately felt responsibility.
- Limit scope. “Everyone feels this way,” expands issues. “Here’s what I need from you,” narrows conversations to the immediate realm of control.
- Focus on what matters. Leaders who argue insignificant points stall progress. Ego needs to win all the time.
- Build relationships that withstand confrontation. How would you treat teammates today, if you knew confrontation was coming next month?
How might leaders confront like pros?