Updated: Dec 31, 2021
It begins with a difference of opinion or even a correction in the course of systems. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we do not all think alike and there will be times when we are forced to confront someone about something. There are two ways that this conversation will progress, either like civilized adults or in a heated, yelling, screaming-like-a-wild-banshee method. The latter is often what you read on social media or on the cable news channels. Confrontation is normal; it’s actually healthy if handled correctly. Since we do all think differently, it’s a way to expand our thinking and our world. It becomes unhealthy and non-productive as soon as it advances into a more heated exchange.
Our society is filled with the desire to one-up or prove-wrong mentality. We have to be right and make it known that we are elevated above everyone else in thought and deed. How do we take a step back and handle these situations like civilized adults?
It starts with turning our thoughts around and beginning with the other person’s needs and well-being above our own.
It can be boiled down to 3 mindsets:
1. Be Sure:
Why are you engaging in this topic with this person?
A true confrontation should be a rare event; never a thing to relish.
Avoid the ‘argue for the sake of arguing mentality’.
It should take you a moment to exam your motives for jumping in and addressing the other person, concerning this topic.
Do you feel superior?
Are you lifting yourself up by putting them down?
Could you be redirecting your frustration or anger toward this person for a totally different issue?
Before confronting someone, you should answer these questions truthfully. Basically - check yourself!
Organize your thoughts and allow someone to track your line of thinking as if they were following a story.
Vagueness allows a person’s mind to become ambiguous and form opinions that may not end where you were heading with your thoughts. This leads to uncertain outcomes.
Again, why are you engaging? Know your reason and make it clear to the other person why this is important enough for you to participate in this conversation.
No matter how tactful or gracious you may speak; fuzzy and unorganized thought patterns do not help the other person to understand your meaning.
3. Be Sensitive:
This may be the most challenging step with any engagement.
Remember that every situation is different; everyone thinks differently and everyone converses differently.
It would serve you well to take a beat with some soul-searching prior to leaping into any opposing conversation.
Avoid jumping into this situation with the Clint Eastwood “Go ahead, make my day” approach. This will lead to confusion, resentment and a trail of wounded spirits.
Make sure your words match the respect that all humans deserve.
Pay attention to timing and tone; personal attacks only put someone on the defense. Choose words that do not offend.
Remain calm - when voices raise, no one hears!
This is not the place for emotions; it’s a discussion! Not anything having to do with death, love or your kids.
Keep a personal agenda out of this - it’s not about you. It’s the position that needs clarification.
Our world would be a bit more peaceful if we could just adhere to these 3 simple steps. We could keep all of our conversations civilized and adult-ish rather than squawking out our thoughts as though we are ruler of all. Of course, there is another option to joining in with any and all subjects, and that is to ignore the situation and not address it at all. If you don’t really have a dog in the hunt, why are you even jumping in?
As we begin another year and contemplate setting our resolutions - in addition to losing weight, reading more, less screen time and saving more money, let’s put healthy confrontations on the list. It will help us to be more mindful of others, which could be a benefit to our own health.
If you would like more information on resolving conflict in a
healthy way, please download our complimentary ebook, Conflict Resolution, at the link below.
Denise Ciardello, Consultant
Denise is co-founder of Global Team Solutions. A professional speaker and published author, her enthusiasm and knowledge about the dental profession has helped many dental teams. She brings experience, insight, and creativity into her management style, along with a sense of humor. In a profession that can cause anxiety in some dental employees.
Denise’s consulting approach is to partner with doctors and team members to help them realize the dream of creating a thriving, successful practice.
Denise can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org