• Nancy Riopel

How To Use Confrontation With Confidence

Updated: Apr 22

Understandably, the thought of confrontation can turn many people’s stomachs. We have all had experiences where we tried to discuss a problem with someone, only to have the whole thing blow up in our face.


Why does this happen…

Resistance typically comes from fear:

I often meet with resistance when I talk to leaders about having difficult conversations with their employees. Employers have shared with me their biggest worries are that a discussion could lead to more issues…


Here are four common issues:

  • The problem might escalate

  • The employee might retaliate or quit

  • There could be emotional outbursts

  • The employee's feelings might get hurt

Possible unspoken fears:

  • You may find out you are part of the problem

  • You may have to initiate uncomfortable changes

If you don’t initiate confrontation…


Realizing the problem is likely to get worse if not addressed, helps most people gather the courage to address the issues in a respectful and timely manner. If you think back to some of the problems that you’ve let fester, you are likely to conclude that the things you hoped to avoid by not addressing the problem, actually happened as a result of not addressing the problem.

Impacts of avoiding confrontation:

  • Often, the issues escalate

  • Can lead to emotional outbursts

  • Can lead to disengagement and staff turnover

  • Can lead to hurt feelings and damaged relationships

  • Create reactions, thus forcing thoughtless changes

  • Tends to become repetitive behaviours


That’s why I always subscribe to the notion of open and respectful communication in the workplace, even if it means confrontation. Better to address issues right away, then deal with the potential ramifications of being avoidant.


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