There’s nothing like seeing a plan executed to perfection. But perfection doesn’t always happen. When that happens leaders have to make tough decisions. Confrontation is necessary.
To be honest, confrontation makes me sick to my stomach. When I have to have tough conversations, my stomach feels like it is full of nervous butterflies who all decided to take up bowling. But there is a way to confront people that doesn’t turn them (or you) into collateral damage. You can use moments of confrontation to build a culture of trust.
A culture of trust is something that every business should have. But I’ve learned the hard way that trust is not automatic. It must be built. In order to build trust in your organization, you must choose to trust.
Andy Stanley describes the difference between trust and suspicion as a result of the choices we make. In almost every plan of action, there is a gap between what we expect to happen and what actually happens. When there is a gap between what I expect to happen and what actually happens, I choose what to put in that gap. My choice is critical. Your choice is critical.
If you are going to turn tough calls into wins for your team, you must choose to trust. Here’s 3 ways that have helped me choose to trust and develop trust on my teams:
- Give the benefit of the doubt. When people don’t have the expected results, the odds are they didn’t deliberately try to sabotage the results. Giving the benefit of the doubt means that I refuse to badmouth the leader of a project to others. Even if the results were a total failure, I don’t share that with others until I go to the source. Remember that when you come to the next step.
- Go to the source. Go to your team or project leader as soon as possible. Talk to them before you talk to others. When you talk to your project or team leader, listen. Allow them to be honest. Ask questions before offering solutions. Evaluate without jumping to conclusions.
- Generate a solution. Once you’ve listened to their side of the story, you can work on the problem. Be honest that something went wrong, and then take steps to fix it. If the problem was a personal issue, determine how the personal issue can be overcome. If it was a process issue, fix the process. If it was a performance issue, consider further training, a lower level of delegation, or using different leadership.
I know that there are people who actually do try to sabotage projects, and you may have to make a tough call about that. But until you know for certain, you can choose to trust. When you do you will give your leaders an opportunity to overcome errors. They will have a chance to develop. They will have a chance to be better. And you will develop a culture of trust.
How have you have dealt with confrontation? What are other benefits from building trust in your company/church/organization?