Are You Comfortable with Confrontation?

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Confrontation, Leadership, Psychology, May 15, 2011

Having spent many years negotiating contracts with the proverbial 500-ton corporate gorillas, I’ve identified many parallels between the tactics required to survive physical assault and the strategies needed to manage relationships with clients, vendors, executive management teams and colleagues.

The current corporate mantra is to strive for a win/win solution. This requires developed negotiation and conflict resolution skills. A knee-jerk reaction to meet force with force is rarely a viable option if the longevity of your business or climbing the corporate ladder is a goal.

What type of confrontations do you face on a daily basis?  Your initial reaction to a confrontation will set the tone for the role you will play and the outcome. If your first reaction to the signs of conflict is fear, you’re not alone. Many prefer to remain at ‘arm’s length’ from conflict. A raised voice or a display of aggression can be perceived as stressful if it is not seen for what it is: a simple tactic.

As long as you perceive confrontation as a stressor you will react in fear. The key is to become comfortable with confrontation. Each confrontation is an opportunity to learn and grow. If you choose not to expand your comfort zone it will automatically shrink.

Getting comfortable with confrontation can only occur if you start getting engaged in more confrontations. You’ll start to see patterns of tactics emerge as you actively participate in more negotiations. The experience will be invaluable.

So the next time you have an option to reschedule or defer a meeting you’ve been avoiding, don’t. Plan the agenda, prepare for the meeting and dive right in. Send me a note and let me know how you did.

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