How can you make an extremely unpleasant situation, like having to confront someone less awkward for both persons? How do you go from always destroying your relationships due to bad confrontation management to saving your relationships by winning your confrontations?
Suffice it to say that confrontations are ever-present as part of our life. Since people differ in background, opinions, experiences, likes, and dislikes, there will always be conflicting interests due to these differences.
Dwelling on these differences, particularly the conflicts that arise from them, and yet refusing to talk or confront it may not be the right approach to managing your confrontations. In fact, it would be setting you up for a heavy fall.
In our last article on confrontations entitled; Using confrontations in a relationship, we saw how a hardworking employee got passed up for promotions severally in her workplace due to her sheer fear of confrontations. This could be you, me, or anyone else. So, while you may have learnt your confrontational styles and how to use confrontations in a relationship, it is very pertinent that you learn how to manage your confrontations.
So, in what ways can we successfully manage our confrontations? How can we wield this tool effectively and constructively? Here are a few ways;
CHANGING YOUR MINDSET – Confrontation – or lack of it – all starts with the mindset. Most people are already ingrained with the mindset that confrontation is bad and can only ever have negative representations. There has to be a paradigm shift in mindset in order to use confrontations effectively. It is absurd to think we can shy away from an avenue of growth – such as confrontation – and yet expect optimal growth, particularly in our workplace. We need a new understanding of confrontation as a growth tool. A good way to start is by understanding your confrontational style as well as the possible ways we can use it in our relationships.
CLARIFICATION – To confront literally mean to feel clarification on issues that are important to you.
You see, one of my closest friends had an aversion to confrontation. She typically bottles her feelings. So, when she managed to engage in a confrontation, it was to yell out in hurt and pain and refuse to listen to the other person’s view. After this outburst, the usual outcome is for that relationship to be severed due to rash words spoken during the confrontations.
And so, when I developed a friendship with this person and noticed this habit, I was naturally perplexed and worried. I saw that she was a great person; so loyal to her few friends that you could trust her with your life and money. I didn’t want to lose such a great person. On the other hand, I knew that conflicts and confrontation are inevitable in a long-lasting friendship.
And so to prevent getting to that stage where I would lose a good friend because of confrontation, I decided to confront her about her confrontational styles. I suggested a day out to our favorite places and restaurant. I wanted a perfect ambience where her defenses are down and she’s relaxed.
Over a sumptuous meal and jokes, I cautiously told her about her negative confrontational styles. I explained how detrimental it is to her growth. At the end of the day, she left with a new mindset. She had come up with ways to improve n her confrontational styles.
People rarely shout when they need clarification. They rather converse, listen, and understand. This, in a nutshell, is what confrontation ought to be.
TIMELY – A confrontation that is timely is always better than one with wrong timing. If you confront in the heat of anger, it could backfire on you and only add to the issues. On the other hand, if you delay too long and your partner moves on from the issue, it may become irrelevant to your partner for that issue to be addressed again. So, choose to confront when both parties are no longer angry, but also yet to move on from the issue.
A few vital guidelines to help you in managing your confrontations include;
Confront when you have enough time to communicate without running off for the next appointment.
Seek to clarify and communicate, rather than yell or impose your opinions on your partner.
Make efforts to comprehend the other party’s perspectives on the issue.
Seek for a solution that is collaborative and does not impose changes on anyone.
Leave the floor open for reciprocity. In other words, make yourself accessible for your partner to confront you on issues pertinent to him/her. It breeds trust and security.