While coaching many top executives I have noticed that managers seeking “advice” are often just avoiding a confronting conversation. I remind them of some wisdom embedded in the development of our language.
Con is Latin for “with.” Con-front is to face something together, to move forward in unison. Doesn’t that make confrontation more appealing? Appealing or not, it is a big part of every manager’s job.
Versare meant to turn or change, especially to open or close a door. In early English a con-versation meant talking with a person to make a change, to open some doors and close others. This also is a big part of managing.
Still, not everyone knows or remembers how to have these confronting conversations. Here is my step-by-step guide, for free: tiny.cc/toughtalk
See also, on this blog, step-by-step conversation instructions with video here:
The Conversation Contract.
Hi Tony, This is a very good point you make. Joe Weston (of Respectful Confrontations) makes a similar point about confrontations, where the word confront is used in conversations as a means to empower both (or all) parties as opposed to conflict where it’s power over another.
Distinguishing confrontation from conflict is a wonderful shift in attitude (meaning physical stance as well as emotional state). Better to put our heads together (Latin frons: forehead) than to strike each other (Latin fligere: to strike” as in afflict). Thanks you, Rashmi!