Confrontation in Leadership – What if it’s not working?

Danny Silk

One of the goals of confrontation is to restore a connection in your relationship. In a confrontation, we are looking for repentance in the heart of the individual when we offer opportunities for grace to be extended.

There are many different obstacles in the process of confrontation. You may find that the person being confronted is unwilling to engage with information about how their actions are affecting the environment. Some behaviors might show up during a confrontation that will require firm boundaries.

Sometimes, people can be operating in fear that can add some difficulty to the process of confrontation. Often, fear is expressed in the form of control and manipulation.

Control is a false sense of power. Someone operating in control is often used to feeling this false sense of power, and demanding others in the environment submit to it. Control often believes the person with the loudest voice or the most domination is the person with the most power.

Manipulation is the sneakiest form of control. It might appear to be loving, kind, agreeable, or accommodating. When you challenge the person operating in manipulation, you will see their true colors emerge.

Here are a few examples of mindsets of control or manipulation in confrontation:

1. If you confront me, I will get angry and hostile, and you will become the target of my anger.

2. If you confront me, I will redirect the conversation toward you, making you feel as though you are the one to blame. I will not take any responsibility for my actions. I will give you reasons why my actions are justified because of your behavior.

3. I will appear to receive your feedback during a confrontation. After the confrontation, I will twist the story of the conversation, and might share my twisted truth with others to rally support on my side.

4. I might appear to be receiving your feedback in the confrontation, but later will deny the truth of our conversation and refuse any accountability for my actions.

As we mentioned before, when a heart is not ready to be repentant it’s hard to address that person functioning in a spirit of control or manipulation. When a person is accustom to operating in fear, control, anger, and manipulation, it is crucial to shut down the anxiety of the other person. It is best to disengage with the person and set a firm limit upon their behavior.

Using statements like, “I am happy to have this conversation as soon as it is respectful” is one way to set a boundary. It sends the signal that you have not given up on the person, but you will not allow the unhealthy choices to control the environment or your relationship.

As leaders, it is not our responsibility to force someone to change, but to protect the environment we are creating. Control and manipulation have no place in a free and loving culture. Someone unwilling to repent of the actions controlled by fear and manipulation can be given clear boundaries and denied access to taking part of the environment.

Jesus has given us the keys to freedom within right relationship. How can you use your keys of freedom to protect the culture you are creating?


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