Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Deal With Confrontation

This isn’t new news, but most people struggle with confrontation. If that’s you, it probably boils down to your very human need to be ‘liked’ by everyone.

Naturally, you want to feel a sense of belonging and when people challenge you and your opinion, or outright disagree with you it can shake that up.

Suddenly you are unsure if this person is accepting, or rejecting you. Suddenly you are not sure if you belong in their little circle or not. Suddenly you feel alone and at sea.

There are a multitude of tactics you can adopt in such circumstances and I’d like to touch on one today.

Let’s start by asking 2 questions:

What is your default position as soon as you are faced with confrontation?

What role do your ‘persecutors’ believe you play?

Thomas Kilmann produced an interesting set of options that you might like to consider (TKI Model) above. Here are the options:

Option 1: Do you back down immediately and effectively run away from the problem?
Option 2: Do you accommodate their wishes and berate yourself for ‘being so soft’?
Option 3: Do you spontaneously challenge them back and go round in circles as you butt egos?
Option 4: Do you look for ways in which you could work together to find a solution?

Consider options 1 and 2 above.

If your ‘persecutor’ has come to think of you as someone who will either run away or back down, s/he will smell blood immediately and go in for the kill. As soon as you compromise, you haven’t got a chance.

If you go with option 3, you’ll be butting heads all day.

Which leaves option 4 as the strongest (and only) path to take. And there are plenty of ways in which you can collaborate.

I don’t want to get into those strategies here – that’s for another time. But what I do want you to consider is which of these default positions you naturally choose when faced with confrontation.

And secondly (and perhaps more importantly) which is the position your ‘persecutors’ believe you will take.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘push over’.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘doormat’.

You don’t want to be known either as a ‘hot head’ who will only ever push back when challenged.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


1 comment:

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