Fear of Confrontation

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Over the years I hear from owners that they are afraid to confront their employees (for poor behavior) because they fear they will offend and push out that employee, and they fear they won’t be able to replace that employee.

This fear is illogical and self sabotaging.

Can you imagine any relationship worth having, where you decide to avoid discussing problems in order to save the relationship?!? Not only does that not make sense, but it would backfire.

This is true in personal life and in business.

For example, last weekend I visited my daughter at her therapeutic boarding school in Far West Texas.


Driving through Far West Texas, so flat you can watch your dog run away for two days.

We were told by the school leader that once a day we should have a conversation as a family where we get past the superficial and dig into something that is bothering us and discuss how it affects us. They call this heavy lifting.

I call this having a “Difficult Conversation.” (It is one of the 6 people systems that I unveiled last month in my Become A Destination Company® workshop.) Your leaders need to know how to have these Difficult Conversations in order to keep operations running smoothly.

My research shows: You gain far more value by having these, than by avoiding them. You can fix what seem like unsolvable problems, and create enormous immediate value, by sitting down armed with:

  • Facts
  • Compassion
  • Determination to share the truth, and let your employee know that “this cannot continue”

A client, who shall rename nameless, shared the following: “I have had a couple difficult conversations with a key leader. So I decided to give him one last chance to prove himself. And I have noticed a HUGE difference in his performance and the performance of the whole team since doing this.”

Another client (also nameless) said that they turned around a salesperson last month who they were about to fire! They decided to sit down and lay out how his behavior affected all other key members in the team, and how it affected his clients, and ultimately how it impacted his results.

It’s Win-Win: Your people will feel heard (instead of fired in the heat of frustration), and you as the leader will reduce your assuming and judging.

Your challenge: Is there someone you are very frustrated with, and possibly thinking of releasing form the team? Instead, hold up the mirror to that person, so they can really learn how they are impacting others. Map out how their behavior affects others, the clients, and you. Then have a difficult conversation; a good employees will appreciate you for it!

If a key leader has to have one of these with their direct report, you can do a dry run through with them, so they get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I am walking the talk, this week my wife and I are in Sedona for a very special marriage retreat. I am sure there will be plenty of discussions about expectations and feedback. Ha!

Regards, Jeffrey!

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