When building an organization, first as an active network marketer, and later as the founder of a multimillion-dollar corporation, I’ve always followed a simple rule. That rule is: Confront before you Conflict.
Applying this rule allows me to distinguish early on the missionaries from the mercenaries in any group. I would regularly hold open discussions on an even platform to confront my team members on specific issues with no bias or prejudice to position, gender, class, ethnicity, culture, or otherwise.Apply this rule to distinguish early on the missionaries from the mercenaries in any group. Click To Tweet
In the early days, I called it TAPs. For one, I was “tapping” into people’s inner feelings and inner personas. And second, these discussions became known as the Truth Application Programs. They were valuable sessions that helped me build leaders, both in the field and in the corporate world.
The root word for confrontation comes from the Medieval Latin confrontārī: stand face to face with. The critical component here is the word “face.” When we confront someone, we are facing down each other’s fears, issues, and challenges before they escalate into purely conflict, which is an emotionally charged situation. At the confrontation stage, you can still have a rational exchange of ideas, even if opposing. When one is in conflict, the responses are typically purely emotional, at which point reason does not matter.When one is in conflict, the responses are purely emotional, at which point reason does not… Click To Tweet
It has always been my belief that in order to find resolution and move forward, we need to confront with reason, rationale, logic, and explanation before the situation escalates into conflict, where all of the above no longer count. To do this, I have developed a set of guidelines that have come in handy over the course of my career.
I call these the 10 rules of Confrontation:
1- Check your emotions at the door.Check your emotions at the door. Click To Tweet
2- Never confront the person, always the issue. Avoid using “I” and “you” in the discussion.Never confront the person, always the issue. Avoid using “I” and “you” in the discussion. Click To Tweet
3- Never argue your point for the point’s sake; only lawyers do that. Discuss it instead. The objective is communication, not domination.
4- This means listening as much as talking.
5- Begin with listening. The more you listen, the more effective you become in addressing.The more you listen, the more effective you become in addressing. Click To Tweet
6- Confrontation fueled with egoism, lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, or malice of any kind is bound to fail. Even pity as a motive is self-defeating as an objective.Confrontation fueled by with egoism, lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, or malice of any kind is… Click To Tweet
7- Always confront with love, failing which you can also do so with kindness, compassion, or even understanding.Always confront with love Click To Tweet
8- Never digress. It will be highly tempting to bring other issues in. Resist and remain focused. Make only one point at a time.
9- Never forget whom you are doing it with or what you are doing it for—yourself.
10- Be ready to compromise. Confrontation without compromise is only possible for a principle, never for personal gain. If you find that you are getting emotional at any juncture, bring in a neutral third party and have them mediate the confrontation.Confrontation without compromise is only possible for a principle, never for personal gain Click To Tweet
The more people work together, the more issues will come up. The challenge lies in creating a supportive environment where people can express their feelings instead of keeping them inside. Bottling up disagreements creates resentment, which invariably ends in conflict, which in turn not only damages relationships beyond repair, but is also detrimental to the team, and the organization you are trying to build.
Bring your team together once a month and create a safe environment where you apply these rules and get people to open up and discuss unresolved issues. You will grow stronger together as a team.
Vijay Eswaran is chairman and CEO of a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Hong Kong. He also is a veteran networker, popular speaker, and author who lectures at leading universities and business forums around the world on a variety of subjects ranging from spirituality to leadership.