Land Mine #7 – Confrontation Phobia

The number one gap for most leaders and managers is the inability to hold people accountable for excellence. Below is an excerpt from Marty Clarke’s Leadership Land Mines. 

The Confrontation Phobia land mine goes off whenever a manager chooses not to confront an issue because it’s just plain easier to take the path of least resistance and let it go. This is an ugly land mine because the ability to confront issues properly is at the very core of leadership. Confrontation is the business of meeting challenges big and small and managing through them. Unfortunately, too many managers avoid confrontation and in doing so detonate the Confrontation Phobia land mine which eventually has an extremely negative impact on their professional body of work. 

As a manager, the path of least resistance is often your enemy. In avoiding this destructive land mine, I encourage you to keep three rules of thumb in mind. They are: 

  1. What you accept you teach – that means if you look the other way when you should confront poor performance, behavior, or general unrest, you are teaching everyone who reports to you that this performance, behavior, or unrest is perfectly OK.
  2. Now is better than later – or think, but think fast. The Confrontation Phobia land mine is deadly but speed is its mortal enemy. Speed is by far your most important weapon in avoiding the Confrontation Phobia land mine.

Is that the hill you want to die on? – Not every situation, comment, or behavior needs to be confronted. So to avoid becoming a micro-manager, the simple question, “Is this the hill you want to die on? can be extremely useful in helping you decide where, when, and how to apply your efforts. You can use the following three guidelines in order to help you make the best decision for yourself, your team, and the company.

1. Is it good for business?
2. Is it consistent with my pattern?
3. Do I have my reasons worked out in my head? 

The wisdom in this blog entry comes from Marty Clarke’s Leadership Land Mines – 8 Management Catastrophes and How to Avoid them. Click here to see Gary’s book report on Clarke’s book. 

Gary Tomlinson
(919) 847-6235

About Gary Tomlinson

Gary Tomlinson has been an entrepreneur and business owner for over 40 years. Today he is a leadership consultant and executive coach specializing in executive team alignment and organizational execution.
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