Artfully articulating and asserting our authority is a key to success and survival. The goal is to encourage and energize people to want to comply, not force them.
Fight with Finesse shares skills and insights to do this effectively. Assertiveness "experts" often tout Confrontation as a primary means of protecting ourselves, our interests, of getting what we want and voicing how we feel. We think they are wrong.
Confrontations often involve Angry Altercations and unpleasant displays of power and force that are rarely productive and leave the targets stunned, confused, fearful, demoralized or angry.
Confrontation is often an empty excuse for Angry Explosion lacking good goals and good intentions. Time spent recovering is lost productivity and enthusiasm. If people comply, it is often to avoid unpleasantness, not because they agree or feel the argument is just.
I recently faced a silly situation with an angry female who wanted to tell me "how she felt." She assumed I cared. Her previous abusive behavior left me completely disinterested in continuing the conversation, so I didn't.
Confronters usually try to catch you by surprise, at their convenience when they are angry and ready for a fight. Don't let them. If you control your time and attention, don't give it to them. Put them off.
If you have to deal with them, do it at a convenient time for you when you are ready. Catching you off guard is a key component to their strategy, they are ready, you are not. Find out what they want, prepare, choose a time that is good for you.
A wise leader once commented he was confrontation adverse and avoided confrontations whenever possible. I realize the wisdom of his approach. People followed him eagerly because they wanted to, not because they feared his anger or unpleasantness.
Anger is contagious. So is enthusiastic zeal to excel and do well. Which would you like to characterize your organization and relationships?
Actions speak louder than words. What we do is far more powerful than what we say.
Is Confrontation ever the best strategy? Rarely, we think. What does it achieve? Do they have to comply? What do we want to achieve? Isn't there often a better way?
On occasion, we all have to communicate difficult, distasteful things. Isn't it wiser to find a more artful way than catching a person off guard and ambushing them in an angry, adversarial way? We think so.