The ability to confront issues is in my opinion one of the most important traits of an effective leader and yet this is one of the traits most leaders avoid. Most people hate confrontation and in doing so will ignore problems that over time turn into toxic issues in your church or organization. Confrontation is not a bad thing and if done right actually strengthens you, your relationships, and your organization. Now how we get away from the fear of confronting someone is understanding some valuable keys to healthy confrontation. So lets look at 5 keys to healthy confrontation:
1. We must understand NOTHING gets in the way of your organizations vision.
Like I hit home several weeks ago here…. Successful organizations are married to their vision and they don’t cheat on the vision no matter what the circumstances. The reason why most leaders are scared to confront someone about an issue is that they are so scared they will offend or upset someone. The reality is that it should bother you as the leader more that there may be discord, division, or sin in your organization than it bothers you that it may upset someone that your are addressing an issue. You as the leader cannot let one person yield a negative return in your organization as they push away or detract 10, 20, or maybe more people from being apart of your church. When you address an unhealthy issue you are turning a negative into a positive and they start yielding a positive return by either changing their unhealthy behavior or leaving which changes the environment of your organization.
2. Go in with a pure heart.
Confrontation never becomes enjoyable, but it does get easier when you understand your intentions. The reason why we confront issues is because we want that person to be the best they can be and we desire to see them and the organization grow. If you have no desire to resolve the relationship and to move forward working together then you need to end your working relationship. You cannot effectively deal with issues unless you are willing to move forward in the relationship. The truth of it all is the fact that when you are confronting an issue you are saying I care enough about our relationship that I want us to work and I want you to be effective. If you didn’t care about that person you would just fire them and move on. So make sure your heart is right toward that person.
3. Don’t let to much time pass.
Many people say that “Time Heals Everything” ummmm that is a big fat lie! Time makes things worse not better. If you go to address something with a friend and you say that this happened several months back their reaction is going to be “you mean you have been holding all this animosity all this time and didn’t tell me?” because that is what time builds. Now I am not suggesting handle and issue fresh off your emotions, but you need to handle it within a week or so of the incident. To much time that passes causes us to sweep things under the rug or multiple incidents may occur after the fact because we never dealt with the initial incident.
4. Be clear.
You must clearly explain your thoughts and feelings and make sure there are no gray areas when the conversation is over. To many times in our fear of confrontation we will beat around the bush and not say exactly how we feel. In skirting around the issue we actually make the issue worse because the other party will leave the conversation not really understanding your feelings or thinking that issue is not really an issue. Be clear with your thoughts and be clear with your expectations of them after the conversation.
5. Make sure you follow up.
This is so huge and yet so often ignored by so many leaders. After you address an issue you need to follow up about a week later. Some times people leave a conversation feeling one way, but as time progresses their thoughts may drift or other conversations with others are had that tend to have them looking at it in a different way. A quick “how are you doing after our last conversation” or “Is there anything I can do to help with what we talked about” really reassures the importance of the relationship and reaffirms where you are going together in the organization.
Confrontation is not as scary as it feels when you set yourself up with the right heart and right mindsets to move your relationships forward. Lets see 2017 be the greatest year ever for our churches and organizations and not let anything get in the way of what God is going to do this year!
What is the hardest part of confrontation for you? Comment below….