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Why do managers avoid confrontation?

It’s rampant in workplaces, but why? Is it that hard to confront a subordinate on a behavioral issue (or a performance issue)? Is it so important that it will make a real difference in the big picture of organizational effectiveness?

Yes, it is THAT important!

Consider the fact that when you don't address a behavioral problem right away it becomes like the small cut or scrape that isn't cleaned out and protected from infection. Not only does the cut get infected but the infection gets into the blood stream and eventually, if left unmanaged, affects the whole body (organization). If left long enough it can be life threatening.

Importance of immediacy

When a performance or behavioral problem isn't confronted immediately it is perceived as performance or behavior that is acceptable. The longer it is left unaddressed the more acceptable it becomes. It should be confronted in private and as soon as possible after it comes to a manager's attention.

Keep it positive

While most people would consider confrontation to be a negative experience it must be addressed positively, as a constructive feedback conversation. It is a mindset. Consider it like healthy conflict. Healthy conflict is good conflict: “Thoughtful disagreement—the process of having a quality back-and-forth in an open-minded and assertive way so as to see things through each other’s eyes." As this quote from LinkedIn Daily Rundown suggests it "is powerful, because it helps both parties see things they’ve been blind to.”Avoid personal attacks!

How to start improving confrontation skills

As you probably have figured out by now, confrontation is extremely important to being an effective supervisor and leader. It is crucially important to the health of the entire organization. When we embrace confrontation and conflict as positive, instead of avoiding it out of fear, we confront our fear...the ultimate confrontation...and begin a change for the better. Practice your healthy confrontation skills at every opportunity at home and at work to become a better leader and supervisor.

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