. . . When we talk about transformative leadership or get all giggly over empowering employees.
. . . When we have to face a tought conversation, a difficult boss, or an office jerk.
. . . When we decide where our priorities go and how we will treat other people.
It really is all about the cost. Here’s the breakdown . . .
The Cost of Confrontation
When we face someone about their behavior or with a hard choice, it costs us in emotional energy. Having hard discussions is dangerous, at least in our brain’s perspective, and it tells our body to kick into “flight or fight” mode.
Fighting with someone takes energy and energy costs us. So does running away, but I have more to say about that below.
Confrontation pays for itself when we resolve a problem or make a decision. These actions pay for themselves and may even result in extra profit.
So why are we so often afraid of confrontation? Because we don’t know how to do it right and it just ends up costing us.
The Cost of Anger
When we act from a place of anger, we are spending emotional money that we do not have to spend.
Anger tells us something is wrong in our personal ecosystem.
Anger is also often misplaced, which means we are not using it for the reason we purchased it. After a bad day at work, as many small household pets can attest, we sometimes vent our misplaced anger at things or people who are not the cause of that anger.
The cost just goes up and up when this occurs . . .
The Cost of Delay
Along with the classic stress reactions of “flight or fight” mentioned above, I believe that a third reaction exists: “Fright”. Fright, as I visualize it, is that horrible feeling when we are staring at something we do not want to engage in, think about, or talk through.
So we wait . . .
Sometimes we are waiting for our problem to solve itself, which happens just often enough to give us continued hope that lightning will strike twice in the same place . . . which it does on occasion . . . rare occasion.
Sometimes we are just immobilized by the fears our brain has concocted about “What Might Happen”, should we engage with our issue.
Waiting seldom solves problems, but action does. When we fail to take action, we are stalling and that costs us.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
So it really is all about this simple question: Can you afford the costs of confrontation, anger, and delay? If not, maybe it’s time to do an audit and find out where you need to “stop the bleeding”, as the analysts would say.
Ways do exist to engage in conflict with less cost. We can use constructive conflict management skills instead of destructive behaviors. We can become less passive and more assertive in our handling of conflict.
The cost of learning how to become conflict competent is the real bargain in all this red ink.
More on conflict competence later.
Checking my balance sheet in the steamy Heartland . . .