High Gear Training Systems

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Confrontation is Good For You (and For Business)

At one time or another I suspect all of us has let someone get away with saying something that rubs us the wrong way.  Sometimes we simply let an insult slide.  Sometime we pretend to like an idea that we really don't.

Most people avoid confrontation.  We are afraid to candidly respond to someone because we fear an angry response or making a  matter worse.  However, by avoiding confrontation we carry around unhealthy resentments, suffer in silence, and usually are distracted from the work at hand.  In his book Winning, Jack Welch calls the lack of candidness the "dirtiest secret in business," wasting time and money.

I once worked for a company that had a policy for confrontation This is how it worked: If someone complained to a co-worker about an idea or the behavior of an associate (something we all do or have done), the listening party would simply ask: "Have you told Joe how you feel?"   Most of the time the coworker would reply, "No, of course not."  At that point the listening party informed their associate that they had 24 hours to go back and inform that person about their true feelings and concerns.  Not only that, this person would verify the conversation by calling that person and asking if they had met with Joe.  Talk about trust and verify!  This policy accomplished two things: 1. it cut down on complaining and 2. issues and problems got resolved faster.

Constructive confrontation saves time and money because it resolves problems faster and we don't spend money on bad ideas that everyone agrees with in public but disdain privately.  Confronting someone or an idea professionally doesn't mean being rude or mean spirited.  As the expression goes: attack the problem (or behavior); not the person.

There is a big benefit for being known as someone who is candid and knows how to  professionally confront an idea or an individual: people will trust you and value your opinion.

We would love to know your thoughts, impressions of this post.


  1. Awesome John! I still cherish that professional/personal rule of thumb called "the care-frontation model" from the same company you mentioned above. It has served me well as a business leader and family man over the past 25 years.


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