Confrontation is very challenging for most self-employed business owners. As a personal business coach, and having owned several successful small businesses I found myself in a state of dread about confrontation with employees.
I had many fears about confrontation. How do I handle it? What if the employee gets very angry? What if I lose it and embarrass myself? In one of my businesses I reached a point with an employee where I knew the confrontation was going to be bad. And, it was.
Confrontation Is Good
After that very bad experience I knew I had to find a better way to approach confrontation. As I thought about it, I realized that my small business success and small business growth were a result of my confronting problems, situations and need for improvement every day.
I could do it with customers. I could do it with processes. But with employees I, to put it mildly, had trouble. I looked for all types of business courses, online training, business skills training and even self-development courses to help me break through my barrier to confrontation.
One day I was reading and came across the idea that confrontation was about clarity. When you confront someone you are trying to clarify an issue or situation. Yes, confrontation, in my mind, was now good.
Confrontation—How To Go About It
John Maxwell in “Developing The Leader Within You” has ten commandments for confrontation. As a personal business coach and small business owner I can tell you that taking Maxwell as a guide, you can turn most confrontational situations into positives.
- Do it privately, not publicly.
- Do it as soon as possible. That is more natural than waiting a long time. And, I might add, the more you think about it, the more energy it takes from you to move forward in other areas of your business and life.
- Speak to one issue at a time. If you overload someone with multiple issues your point will be lost.
- Once you’ve made a point, don’t keep repeating it. This was definitely a weakness of mine.
- Deal only with actions a person can change. If you ask someone to do something that they are unable to do, all it does is ramp up the frustration.
- Avoid sarcasm. This was a big problem for me. Why? Sarcasm shows that I am angry with others, not their actions and this can cause them to resent me.
- Avoid words like always or never. This was a problem of mine. First of all, always and never are seldom true. Deal in the truth.
- Present criticisms as suggestions or questions if possible. This was difficult for me but I learned how to do this and it helps.
- Don’t apologize for meeting and having confrontation. This only makes you appear to be coming from a position of weakness. I used to do this and it never helped.
- Don’t forget the compliments. Where possible, compliment, confront then compliment.
Confrontation Is Part Of The Business Keys To Success
Regardless of whether you are a self-employed business owner, entrepreneur or solo professional, starting your own business or running a small business is a continual challenge. Start looking at confrontation as a step to clarity. When you do, confrontation will allow you to you and your business to a better level.