Nobody wakes up and thinks I can’t wait for some confrontation today!

Unfortunately though, when you employ people or you work with people, or just live in a world with other people, there will be times when there has to be what I call ‘confronting conversations’.

I suppose that’s a fact of life that you can’t avoid, and although you don’t wake up thinking, “I can’t wait for some confrontation today!”  It happens. So how do we deal with it? 

Giving or receiving… 

Assuming that the ‘confronting conversation’ involves two people, you will either be the person initiating the conversation or the person that the conversation is directed at.

It’s called ‘confronting’ because it’s going to be awkward, uncomfortable, challenging, maybe critical, blunt, direct and hopefully honest and with good intentions.   

Jack Nicholson was right…

In the movie” A few good men” staring Jack Nicholson, there’s a famous line where he says “You can’t handle the truth” and in some cases he’s right. The truth can hurt, the truth can be very confronting and difficult to handle.

No one likes being criticised, it’s not a great feeling when someone criticises you, your actions or behaviours or wants to talk about things that you would rather ignore. But sometimes it’s inevitable and needs to be done. 

It’s difficult to make generalisations because every situation has lots of things to consider. But if you’re the person initiating the ‘confronting conversation’, for example, if you’re the boss having to reprimand someone, it’s important to be honest but you don’t have to be vindictive in the process. Just deal with the facts, try and keep the emotion out of it and finish with what the changes are that you want to see.   

Feedback is good…

On the other hand if you’re the person receiving the feedback, try not to be overly defensive, or lay blame elsewhere or justify why.

Sure there will be ‘reasons why’ but sometimes people are so busy being defensive that they don’t let the barriers down enough to ‘hear and see’ that the person giving the feedback is actually doing it with the best intention.

The person initiating the ‘confronting conversation’ often doesn’t want to be having it anymore than you want to be hearing it, but they recognise that it needs to happen as a way to move forward.   

Moving forward…

If it’s an employee and employer conversation, it’s important that if you’re the employer that you come from a place of honesty but you can be kind at the same time.

And if you’re the employee, it’s important to understand that it’s the job of the manager to give you feedback! Even though you may not always want to hear it, understand that they are doing it for your own professional growth and ultimately the good of the business. Think about it, “Why would they do it otherwise?”

One response to ““Nobody wakes up and thinks…””

  1. Wade says:

    Antony – Great message today – really think this is important for both managers and employees. Take the emotion out, deal with the facts, and move on with shared understanding – two-way open conversation. Good stuff!

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