Communication: Leadership Skills – Handling Confrontation

calvin arguing Communication: Leadership Skills   Handling Confrontation

In addition to teaching martial arts, for the majority of the time since I was 15, I have been employed full or part time. For some of that time, I was a supervisor at a call center; part of my duties included speaking with upset customers and to find a resolution that made them feel the company appreciated them. I also had to keep the company’s interest and cost in mind, too. All of my work outside of the ATA has been customer service related. Being an instructor and  business owner, customer service and satisfaction takes a lot of my focus. It has to be a priority if I want to run a successful business and form positive, lifelong relationships with my students and their families.

If I have learned from my work experience confrontation is part of life. It’s going to happen with customers, co-workers, bosses, friends, family, and it can even happen with strangers. Some of them will have a valid reason to be upset and some complaints may have you questioning the overall sanity of humanity… I have heard some whoppers. Regardless, in handling various types of confrontation, I’ve learned I can’t control other peoples thoughts, reactions, feelings, emotions, or how they express themselves when they’re upset. I can control my own and if I choose to, I can diffuse a situation and start working towards achieving a resolution quicker and with less dramatics if I follow these guidelines:

When you are confronting another person:

  • Never attack the other person
  • Describe the specific observed behavior
  • Describe how the behavior affects others
  • Specifically describe the desired behavior
  • Encourage them and thank them

When you are confronted by another person:

  • Keep your voice soft
  • Listen without interrupting – I cannot stress the importance of this enough
  • Ask good questions, avoid defending yourself
  • Use reflection and/or paraphrasing to clarify understanding of the issue

Make a choice

  • You can agree to do anything they say
  • Agree to consider what they’re saying and get back to them
  • Tell them, with logical reasons, why you can’t do what they want
  • Find a middle ground that satisfies all parties involved – this is more attainable than you may think

The quickest way for a person to get comfortable handling confrontation is to consciously try and follow these steps, or ones similar to them. It may be challenging at first, but it will become second nature if you keep at it and you won’t have to think about the steps for long!

-Jamie Barlow



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