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Slaying Conflict with Positive Confrontation Author: Radonda Rowton, MAC, LPC

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

So, how are you with confrontation? If you are an Enneagram 8, you have probably had more experience at confronting than the rest of the Enneagram numbers. However, the question becomes “do you confront and hold people accountable in a healthy way, or do you leave a carnage of devastated egos as you walk out of the room?” How is your self-awareness? It’s important to know, because roaring like a lion or flashing a set of brass knuckles are more likely to result in serious anxiety than accountability.

What if I told you that confrontation doesn’t necessarily have to lead to conflict, nor does conflict have to lead to negative confrontation? The word “confrontation” has gotten a bad rap because the actual definition of confrontation merely means to communicate face to face. I can hear you saying, “That has not been my understanding of confrontation.” I hear you, and I agree. Most of us have seen confrontation play out with screaming and hurtful words. Confrontation is most likely considered one of the weakest life skills we possess because it is frequently mistaken for the tantrums of an emotional family member or an unskilled manager who have reached the end of their ropes and end up blowing up at those around them.

In preparing for a positive confrontation, it is important to know that a structured, positive approach can decrease conflict and increase accountability. How do we do that? I believe it’s done by connecting the dots between respecting the people we are talking to and figuring out what is needed for the good of everyone involved. In other words, people need to feel that you are for them and not against them.

Also, positive confrontation is most effective when the expectations are stated clearly, and then are followed up by more conversation if needed, for the sake of understanding.

It is possible to set the stage for a successful confrontative conversation by considering the following steps: