Confrontation-to challenge someone face to face. To most people that word even sounds ugly. Confrontation is not something people enjoy, or even want to think about. There are all kinds of reasons why someone thinks of confrontation as negative. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We don’t like the thought of correcting someone. We are afraid of their response. We think its easier to just let it go.
The truth is confrontation is a wonderful thing. A great opportunity to teach and train, a perfect time to lead. This morning I met with my interns and we discussed this concept. It seemed to help them so i will share this with you.
Here is what I know and have experienced about Confrontation.
1. One of the major differences between leaders who are highly successful and those who are not, is their willingness to confront.
Real leaders will confront issues, people, and problems and deal with them head on. They understand that denial is not an option. Problems whether external or internal do not just go away, they have to be dealt with. Confrontation is key to growing and developing as a person, and an organization.
2. If you want to lead you have to confront.
Confrontation is literally a test of your leadership. If you can’t lead someone through something that needs to change in them, how do you expect to lead something significant. Confrontation is leadership. You are influencing someone to acknowledge the need for change, and helping them to change it, to better themselves and help the team. Thats leadership. You can’t have one without the other. Leadership takes courage and a part of being courageous as a leader is to be excellent at confrontation.
3. Avoiding confrontation is just delaying and ensuring a major conflict.
As stated before, problems, issues, people with problems or issues, don’t just go away, they have to be dealt with. Many people make the mistake of denying the problem. They think, “maybe if I just ignore it, things will get back to normal.” The problem is they don’t. It just festers, gains energy, involves more people and becomes a full blown conflict. Sad part is, it doesn’t have to go there. It could have been confronted, dealt with and everyone moves forward. We think if we just ignore it, people won’t get hurt. The truth is ignoring it is what causes it to grow, and become a conflict, then people do get hurt.
4. You can confront, and It can be done right!
You can confront people’s issues or problems and they love you for it. There is ever only one motivation to confront, and that is because you care for the person you are confronting. You genuinely have their best intrest in mind. The good part is it’s also best for the organization and you personally, but those things can’t be your motive. You must want to confront becuase you care for the person and this will help them grow. That is how you do it right.
5. Jesus was a great confronter.
Read John 4. Jesus confronts the woman at the well. He was a master at helping her realize what needed to change, while caring for her at the same time.
Read John 8. Jesus confronts the religious leaders about their judgmental attitude, and at the same time confronts the woman caught in the act of adultery, all with Love.
There are many more examples. If Jesus lead by confrontation then it is an excellent method.
6. So, How do we do it?
a. Admit it needs to be done.
b. Do it at the right time, sooner than later
c. Pray for God’s wisdom before you confront.
d. Use it as a teaching moment
e. Be positive and caring
f. No hinting or beating around the bush. Get directly to the point.
g. Tell them what they are doing right.
h. Don’t change your behavior towards them. Deal with it, forgive, and let it go
I. Don’t make the meeting long, get it done.
J. Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. (No Drama)
So Confrontation is not so ugly after all, and it will positively effect your life, and your organization. Do it!
Let’s face it. Most of us, well, all of us are subjective when it comes to evaluating ourselves. We can easily see and criticize the weaknesses in others, but not ourselves. We don’t usually say, “I need to change to make my marriage better.” It’s more like, “if my spouse would change our marriage would be better.” We don’t usually say “If I would manage my money better I wouldn’t have so much financial stress.” It’s more like, “if my boss would pay me more, I wouldn’t have the financial troubles I have.” A reality check is realizing that we need to take personal responsibility for our lives.
I think of King David, after he committed adultery and conspired to commit murder. He seared his conscience by doing what he wanted, not what God expected. He didn’t change until the prophet Nathan looked him in the eye and said, “You’re the man.” That is what you call a “reality check.” A truth that broadsides us back into reality.
A few years ago Pastor Kirk (my friend and mentor) did that for me. I had planted a church, with a group of friends whom I loved and still love very much, each of them are now doing some kind of ministry in church and several of them in full time ministry. No doubt, it was a great experience, but it just wasn’t working. In hind sight I can see I chose to plant a church for convenience, not that there’s anything convenient about it except, it was the only available opportunity that fit with what I thought I should do. Needless to say, and I won’t go into the whole story, we weren’t doing well.
When I was in the middle of this project, my wife, Janae kept saying to me, “you need to call Pastor Kirk.” To be honest the last person I wanted to speak with was Kirk Pankratz. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. I didn’t want to tell Pastor Kirk, “my church is not growing, I’m depressed, we’re broke, my wife is mad at me. So I just wouldn’t call him.
Out of the blue, Pastor Kirk calls me. He invites us to come up and hang out with his family. Hesitantly, (meaning I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough) I said yes. Now, the rest of this story is a divine reality check.
Kirk, asked me, “So, how’s it going?” I, the paragon of virtue that I am, begin to spill the truth. “Everything is great!” I said. I don’t even remember what else I said, but it was just more nonsense. Then, Pastor Kirk turned to Janae, as if I hadn’t said a word, he asked Janae, “how’s it really going?” She blurts out with no hesitation at all, “It’s horrible, and he is working himself to death. We are not growing, we are struggling financially, (code for Broke!) and he won’t stop!” all the while I am kicking her under the table.
There I am, in a heap, officially “reality checked.” I knew it was all true, and that my stubborn pride was hurting my destiny, my family, my team, and myself. Kirk and Nancy said something to me that was life changing. “…as long as you don’t give up on Gods plan for your life you’re not a failure.”
So here is a reality check for you. To change is not to admit you’re a failure but it is the true path to success. Don’t let pride and arrogance hold you back from your purpose in God. What ever needs to change, just admit your wrong, and change, and God will move quickly on your behalf. Consider yourself “Reality Checked.”