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?

 

P.S. If you are wanting more on this topic don’t miss out out on our special discount on the Foundation of Honor series right now.

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  1. Good article. But what if the person in leadership is controlling? That really becomes a challenge requiring grace. Having to step back and pray and trust God when one’s voice was not heard.

  2. I have the same question as Heidi. What if the leader is engaging in sin and when they are confronted they are engaging in these controlling and manipulating behaviors. How do you protect the environment when the leader is the one doing the damage?

    1. If your spouse is using manipulation then they are trying to control you.
      If your spouse is using control then they are trying to Lord over you.
      Don’t let them. Let Jesus be Lord and model Him in all that you do.
      There will be persecution, but you are already standing with the victor, Christ!
      You can’t force your spouse to model Christ, but you can set a very convincing example 🙂

  3. Great advice, what if this person your Pastor ,is a narcissist . No interest in hurting the body and I’m sure this would . So we ran. After receiving a twisted Tx.
    So after 13 years of encouaging,and never a bad word between us It’s just over. Now that is painful.

    1. Find leaders who are honorable. If you truly saw the pastor as a narcissist who was not worried about wounding people, why would you follow someone like that? Follow me as I follow Christ Paul said. find someone who has more love, honor, peace, and fruit than you. Who you allow to lead and influence you should not have those discriptors. I realize not everyone gets to sit under Danny or Bill, but there are a lot of other honorable pastors out there. Speaking from experience if you don’t sit in your seat at church and feel empowered and inspired to Follow their example Why Be led by them?

  4. Hi, same question as those below. How do you handle if you confront a leader and the leader turns it around to be something about you? For example, you confront a leader for embarrassing you in a group and the leader turns it around to be an issue about your insecurity. Additional question, should a leader lay aside their leadership hat when the confrontation is personal to avoid an imbalance of power?

  5. Yes, but these kinds of conversations are between people who are speaking from their own perspectives and that through lenses that include wounding. So what you’re describing would be what would happen in an ideal situation where the leader is speaking totally by the spirit and not through their lens of woundedness. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen this done properly very often. Sometimes it’s close. I have experience on both sides of this "coin".

  6. I am curious if these comments are answered or offer advice is offered to the comments posted below. I haven’t see any response from the Loving on Purpose team, maybe you answer personally via email but I think a public response here would help us all

  7. To all the commenters who see sin in their leaders; I say this graciously: Before you judge another check out the state of your own heart. My personal experience backs up the scripture in that if I can see a fault in one of my leaders I had better deal with it in me first. By then the leader’s bones won’t bug me and unless Holy Spirit tells me to confront her I will pray for him and not confront I will use grace. I know I need it too.

    1. Hi Grace, good point. However, there is a distinction between seeing sin in your leaders and having a personal issue with a leader. I don’t agree generally with confronting a leader unless their actions affect you directly. Danny gave an example in the LOP life academy videos of one of his employees properly confronting him. My question is more along the lines of what should you do if the leader doesn’t handle the confrontation like Danny – the leader turns it around to be an issue about you.

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