Weekly Thought – October 8, 2019
Fred believed in maturity. Despite his reputation, Fred did not relish confrontation, but he knew it was part of growth. In typical Fred fashion, he did a great deal of thinking on the subject. This excerpt from musings and notes highlights his process.
Please pray as BWFLI continues deepening relationships with students, faculty, and administrators. Watching them navigate the challenges with faith excites us. Recent articles trumpeting the lack of faith, decline in belief, and evaporation of hope emphasize the importance of the relationship between Christian laymen and the schools.
Confrontation is a Responsibility
Control of confrontation is important. Too often it is seen as a loaded gun open on the desk. That is a faulty way of thinking – and using – it.
It is a very purposeful tool, and I like to think of two basic types:
1) In a work environment between employer and employee
2) In a personal environment between friends or family
In the first one, you deal primarily with the facts of the case. It usually includes “this is the failure – here is why it is unacceptable.” Creating a strategy to rectify the situation is part of the outcome. It is a formal process.
The second involves feelings, motivations, and deep sources that require careful handling.
Confrontation requires a correct environment. It is very important the other person hears what you are saying. And not only what you’re saying, but why you are saying it. For that you have to go below the surface by asking questions.
In the personal confrontation I have found taking a “third party persona” works well. For example, I tell the story of somebody else who had a similar problem. I may not even mention the offense in the story. As it unfolds it is not unusual for the person to say, “You know, that is pretty close to my situation.” The opening up of the problematic situation permits the conversation to move ahead. I know the parallel in the stories but I do not create a scenario that manipulates the situation. And I am careful to never confront anybody with anything that they can’t change.
In confrontation it is not necessary to take the position that it is the immovable hitting the unstoppable. I like to think sometimes it is like running along and jumping on like you would a San Francisco trolley car. But you have to have the right environment for this to happen.
1) You have to have the right motive. Itching for a fight is not the way. It is always to enable the other person to grow, never to humiliate them. Accomplishment is the goal.
2) You have to have the right modus operandi (MO). I am careful about confronting anyone in business or the family before others. Correction is private. These conversations need to be respectful, even in the most difficult circumstances.
3) You have to have the right follow-up. Many times the right follow-up is no follow-up. I don’t want the person to give me blame or credit for the steps taken afterward.
This week think about: 1) How careful am I about confrontation? 2) Who models this skill well? 3) What situation am I facing right now?
Words of Wisdom: “In confrontation it is not necessary to take the position that it is the immovable hitting the unstoppable.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The one who refuses correction despises himself, but whoever hears reproof acquires understanding.” (Proverbs 15:32 NET Bible)