Being in a management position I cannot say that I enjoy confrontations with my employer or staff members. Although, over the years I have become better at handling confrontation when it does happen, and at times have enjoyed the challenge of turning the situation around positively.
There are a few techniques that I have learned over time that have made these types of situations less stressful and more successful when encountered.
- Allow the person to state their complaint completely before speaking. Interrupting them will only make the situation worse. (I learned this the hard way).
- Put yourself at the same level as they are if at all possible. If they are sitting then sit, standing then stand. Keep your posture good and look at them directly when they are speaking and when you speak to them.
- Keep your tone of voice clam and always professional. Do not use slang words. Speak slowly and clearly.
- Do not argue instead agree in principle “I understand how you might feel that way” or “yes, I see this is upsetting to you.” This validates that you have heard them and shows empathy.
- Let them know what you can do about the issue and repeat it as many times and in different ways until they understand what it is that you can do.
Not all confrontations have a happy ending. Reflecting on them after they happen I try to learn what I could have done better or what I did that worked well.
These five points to dealing with confrontations have helped me to be able to handle these situations with more confidence and success, which has made a difference in my professional life and those I work with.
“There are no secretes to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” ~ Colin Powell