Constructive Confrontation

In my previous blog post, I discussed how important it is to ask clients, ‘Why?’ when designing processes and enhancements. That is one aspect of a larger point—that professional interactions require confrontations to achieve results.

Confrontation is often avoided because people don’t like it. I have never met anyone who likes confrontation but I have met people who are skilled at it. This requires not being too aggressive, so as not to aggravate the person you are confronting, but being assertive enough to communicate that an improvement is necessary. This improvement could be for the structure of an algorithm, the documentation of a business process, or the delay in response time. These situations are opportunities to work with the other person or organization to deliver better outcomes. This can’t be done without confrontation.

Professional interactions require confrontations to achieve results.

The alternative to confrontation is to take the responsibility upon yourself to resolve any issues that occurred through another’s mistakes. This is an interim solution at best and untenable at worst.
If you avoid confrontation and, as a result, your project fails to meet expectations,  you will be asked why this happened. Whatever the explanations are, the next question will always be: ‘Why wasn’t it identified (and resolved) sooner?’

Although confrontation is often awkward, it is a necessary tool to have in your toolbox. It allows you to work with others to achieve the best results. It may seem unintuitive, but confrontation should strengthen professional relationships, not weaken them. Which is what we should strive for.

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Written By Andrew Lang

Andrew moved from Brisbane to Melbourne to join Fenwick Software in January 2014. After studying Games and Interactive Entertainment at the Queensland University of Technology, Andrew gained broad experience in various programming languages and environments. Andrew is now involved in NAV implementations, enhancements, and developing web applications. Andrew holds a Bachelor Degree with Honours in Information Technology.

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