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The Enlightened Manager: Eight Steps for Workplace Confrontations

One of the challenging things about working in a team environment is that there are times when people behave in ways that we find unproductive, offensive, or hurtful. When we ignore these feelings the relationship can suffer as our resentment festers. Yet fear at confronting others can prevent us from taking positive action. Today's post contains a checklist you can use to determine if a confrontation is appropriate, and if so, how to move forward.

Step One: Ask yourself if the "problem" is a pattern or simply a one-time issue. Sometimes we see the people around us behaving poorly in a repetitive way. Sometimes the behavior is a surprise. If the situation you wish to confront someone on is a one-time thing, not a pattern, ask yourself if a confrontation is really necessary. We all have bad days. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.

Step Two: If you have determined you want to move ahead, ask yourself what your reasoning is. Are you confronting the person because your feelings are hurt? Because you are concerned about them? Because you are concerned about the customer? Chances are you may have multiple motivations. But take the time to get crystal clear about your own motives. Sometimes we "say" that we are confronting someone because we are worried about the project, or the customer, but it is really about our own feelings. Step up and own your own motives.

From India , Mumbai
I agree and would like to add that there is another very important rule.
That is, never fail to confront unsatisfactory performance in some fashion or other. Just a remark may be enough, but repetition requires more serious action. In the case of performance which adversely affects others, the boss should apologize for it and ask their forbearance during the corrective action phase. This particularly applies to a consistently negative attitude.
Unconfronted, poor performance spreads and people are thus "led" to perform poorly. Even your best people will conclude that their good performance is not appreciated and then you are really in trouble. Disciplining poor performance shows appreciation for those who perform well.
Best regards, Ben
Author "Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed"

From United States , Tampa
I may share practical experiencial situation.

Out of my four immediate colleagues, two males and two females ones, one of the male member would pick up tiny issues with another equally qualified female colleague. I observed that this tendency may spoil the HR image and may lead to culture ruin. I requested my another male colleague to talk to each of these two colleagues at his level and paccify them. I found that on one or two occasions, the issue was geeting settled.

Periodically, the same situation would recurr. I had to counsel each separately; again there was peace for a brief period.

Failing to get a positive answer, I talked to both the colleagues together, affording an opportunity to talk and advising other to keep listening during the talking.
I finally was able to get over the problem and settle the issue once for all.

It is therefore, necessary to adopt various means to analyse the issue and get the same settled.

Best wishes

From India , Delhi
Yes, agree with you that we have to "adopt various means to analyse the issue and get the same settled". Out of interest, can you share how you setlled it, hrmnkg12?
From India , Mumbai
Confronting the Workplace Politics-My Personal View point

Hi Frnds!!!!!!!!We all must have been a part of office politics or I must put it like this way that victims of Office issues....I am sure everybody must have gone thorough this in different phases of working career...My personal experience is very bad. I work in US based MNC and my boss is one of the most difficult personality I have came across in my 4 yrs of working experience........ infact I have also raised my query on this site and I should thank all of my fellow members for there valuable suggestions...I understand coping up with this is not that easy but trust not that difficult also.....In our Corporate culture it is always said that "Bosses are always right" and if you confront then you can be in the trap.....I personally suggest that in this scenario one should remain calm...should take criticism in more positive manner.....I think if you plan a strategy to kill the office politics against us we can easily push it off..The best ways to do this would be:

1) Be genuine & honest towards your work/Task
2) Pay attention to the task assigned and try to finish that in the time period with atleast 90 % accuracy..
3) Try to avoid groupisum in office...should be mutual with all within & outside the dept...
4) Try to win other's trust(Most important in HR terms)
5) Ask for more responsibility & be dedicative towards that....Take initiative and emerge as a team lead
6) Try not to control the collogues but to lead them
7) Avoid taking much tea/coffee breaks.....or gossiping...
Try to avoid miscommunication by being more clear and to the point...
9) Discuss(If required)....
10) Apprise him whenever you are through with the job ...via Email...
11)If sharing some data /details with some teammate always mark CC copy to your boss....
12) Try to be kind to all even at the odd hours
13) In case of worse situation do communicate to the point without any hesitation....and that too face to face...
14) Make a tracker for yourself to manage time and tasks
15) Despite all the disputes give your ownself a months time and perform your duties/routine jobs with more dedication.

I am sure that if taken into considerations little little things do make a big impact......People around will defiantly notice the changes and one will be out from the dirty politics.....
I have personally done this and 80% I have succeeded...My boss is fine with me...I can communicate better with him....Initially i used to avoid him but now I deal with him and try to do work accordingly....

I invite all to let me know if more can be added to it....This breakdown is mostly dealt by employees at the executive levels...Hope my experience would be learning for many of us sailing in the same boat...

Shweta Jaitly

From India , Coimbatore
I am Fully agreed with your view point.
I am victim of this situation as my Manager and our Advisor always haunt me for work load as we have shortage of manpower in our HR Department, but always, i have to face the axe.
Now, I adopted a new policy, whenever they make a hue and cry about the situation, I said no matter, I will handle you in a better way and try to mould the situation in a positive manner, as we have to work together.
Ultimately the situation and the solution to it lies in your hand, it is up to you to perceive it and look critically to examine it and handle it.

From India , New Delhi
Dear Humoresorians
These situations occur and are prevalent practically in all sectors, the world over. I am sharing with my fellow friends based on the observations received by me. The degree may differ.
I firstly was able the dilute the degree of confrontations, through regular counselling/talking to my colleagues separately. This enabled me to cement a platform to bring them together to understand and get counselled. Believe me, it was nothing but EGO and I was able to reach the happy situation through:
T Trust
Confrontation with the boss in a situation when you are also a HOD, is a ticklish problem. For it affects the morale of youngsters in the Organisation and spreads like dengu through the length and breadth of the organisation.
I hope my friends would be able to overcome. May access me at
NK Gupta

From India , Delhi
Hi Frds, This Is Mansi.I’m new menber of this community. I’m facing the same problem in my organization.':sad: Regards Mansi
From India , New Delhi
Good post from Shewta.
I do agree with all the 15 points you stated.
But I do not agree with the point - In our Corporate culture it is always said that "Bosses are always right".

Many times I have agreed and fully backed the view points and course of action put up by team members, though my personal view points could be different.
I do agree that confronting a boss on touchy matters could be tough. But in the culture where I work all concerned put their views and we arrive at a consensus decision - which sometimes might directly opposite to the bosse's views.
Yes, in the orgnisation where I was working for several years (till 3 years back)- it was a local MNC (!!!!!!!!) the bosse's views were always RIGHT and those who went in with a different view were slowly marginalised and finally sent out. In this process the HR (who is always with the BIG BOSS) had fuelled the fire in every single situation.

From India , Mumbai
Hi, I'm Vikki a new member.
I really like nearly all your opinions on the subject, but I doubly agree with Shewda; Yes, in many corporate organisations, the boss is taken to be always right, and this is one thing we should learn to be comfortable. No matter how much we'd like to deny it, it's true! let me give you an example of an experience here at my work [lace, which happens to be a dam construction site in Uganda; I am the administrator here, and the overall transport manager, so when anyone wants a car to go down the site, they should come request for it, and a driver. One of the engineers, who happens to be a guy I sort of report to, does not like this idea, so he just comes to my office, picks up the keys and goes! To be honest with you, I know it is wrong, but I CANNOT confront him! Sometimes he'll just call a driver and off they go! What do you guys have to say about that?

From Italy , Desio

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