My wife and I were discussing having leadership roles at work. Confrontation is unavoidable. Trust issues come up. People want to be seen as powerful or experienced and thus show themselves like a bird of paradise or peacock. When issues and confrontations do arise, the leader has a choice to make. As in the wild, a leader will have to show themselves as dominant by providing perspective, wider experience or simply directing the flow of the team. Obviously, we can’t maul each other like lions or peck at each other like hens as that would undermine the fabric of our social interactions. Plus, we would lose our jobs or land us in jail.
Timing is key. When we find ourselves in the middle of conflict, we have to address the situation with whatever may be appropriate. If someone is trying to take ownership of a meeting we are leading, we can respectfully have them take their place. If a person disagrees with our direction, listening to their perspective and finding a way to relate their view to the path decided will help them align with the team. If our decision is wrong, listening to them and making appropriate changes engenders trust and future communication. There are a myriad of tools and manners to deal with confrontation. Just look at how many books there are on the topic. The particular method we use to deal with confrontation has to be something we are comfortable with and works with our particular way of thinking. No matter what way we decide, using it as situations unfold is critical.
What does this have to do with the business of you? Simple, we lead ourselves in our lives. The decisions we make affect our future selves. Who we are now is a result of our past actions, decisions and choices. When we regret, we can treat it like a confrontation with our past self. We need to listen to the perspective, but not allow it to affect our decisions to be made in the present. If we didn’t meet the expectations we made for ourselves in the past, we have to find out why and do something about it provided those expectations are still relevant. Opening up this dialogue with past and future selves permit us to understand how we are doing relative to our desires, goals and expectations for life. Embracing confrontation during our interactions with others in our personal lives can also be looked at from this perspective. Armed with this knowledge we can take action to guide ourselves toward what we deem as important in our lives, our families or with friends. Success will become an after thought as it emerges from the hard work we put into whatever we deem our business to be.
Embracing confrontation is an element of leading our own lives provided we do something to address the issues. As Michael Jordan says in I Can’t Accept Not Trying, “If you don’t back it up with performance and hard work, talking doesn’t mean a thing.”