Is there someone in your life that you need to confront about something? Maybe it’s a work situation or just a casual friendship, but the time has come for you to do something. How do you approach them with a win/win attitude? Not to hurt but to help.

I’ve been a leader my whole adult life, and if you’re a leader, you have a target on your chest. People confront you on every level. Some people are hurt, some are sincerely concerned and some just want their pound of flesh. Whichever category you may fall under there are a few principles to go by when you have to confront someone.

The first thing to keep in mind is what is good for the other person. If you are just offended at them and want to tell them that you’re offended, then offense rules the day. Offense is a terrible guide, and not a good reason, at least by itself, to confront someone. Offense almost never gets you to the real truth. It almost never gets you to a place where you can resolve anything. You have to add other elements to offense to really bring healing.

Number two, I’ve already mentioned. Approach them with their good and the good of your friendship, work relationship, business or family in mind. This should be the overriding factor in any confrontation. Someone’s behavior that just bugs you is not enough. That may simply mean that your personalities conflict and you need to stay away from each other. Always have a healing goal in mind, a reason for the confrontation and a desired result.

Number three, is don’t pile on, meaning, that you stick to the issue. Confront the one thing that needs to be corrected most. Most people simple can’t process more than one or two things. They need time to process, and change. If you give someone a list of things that they need to “get right“ they will not even try.

Number four, always make boundaries visible. There is nothing more frustrating than rules and results that are invisible. Don’t take for granted that people know what you want. They simply don’t know no matter how obvious it may be to you. I’ve heard leaders say, “They should know that”. But they truly don’t unless you tell them.

Speaking the truth in love is number five. If you approach someone in a dictatorial or condescending way, you’ve already lost. You should start with love and end with love.

Sometimes, truth telling hurts in the short term, but the end result brings healing. Just because you approach someone and use all the things I’ve said doesn’t mean you’ll get a good reaction out of them either. Confrontation is very risky. You can do everything right and it still turn out wrong. The thing about doing what’s right is, it’s right.


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