Confrontation is one of the hardest aspects of being a leader. There are many different facets of leadership that require confrontation. There are staffing issues that have to be faced, there are budget issues that must be dealt with and there are situations that rise requiring difficult decisions. Confrontation is a necessary part of leadership and one that is often avoided in nonprofit organizations.
Problems are a part of life and often are part of nonprofit organizations. The issue is that leaders need to confront problems with the attitude of solving them. Opportunities arise when leaders seek problems to solve and issues to confront. Why do nonprofit leaders avoid confrontation? The following are several reasons that nonprofit leaders avoid confrontation.
Nonprofit leaders are most likely to avoid confrontation because they wish to avoid additional problems. One myth about problems is that they will go away if they are left alone. Problems are like infections, they will only spread if not given proper attention. Confrontation is the method of proper attention. Leaders need to realize that dealing and confronting problems is the best course of action for the organization.
Failure to deal with problems early
Nonprofits are notorious for avoiding confrontation and often cause small problems to balloon into large problems. Confronting issues early on is one of the easiest ways to solve problems. Early identification of a problem is often one of the keys to solving the problem effectively. Knowing what the problem is in its early stages is essential to solving it. The main issue is that many nonprofit leaders believe that small problems will simply go away and do nothing about them. This is far from being accurate. Small problems left unchecked can become monstrous before all is said and done.
Desire to please people
Most nonprofit leaders have the desire to help others, make the lives of people better and to reach out. The problem with confrontation is that often these activities run counter to their beliefs and training. Be clear, leaders should not seek out confrontation for no reason but there are times when situations call for intervention and confrontation.
Nonprofit leaders often have the desire to please people and get along with everyone. The leader must understand that not everyone is going to choose to follow. People who choose not to follow cannot be allowed to cause problems for the organization. The leader needs to be both willing and able to confront people and issues within the organization.
Leaders need to make the choice to confront problems. Nonprofit leaders should stop avoiding problems and deal with them as they arise. Early identification of problems is the best way to solve them quickly and effectively. Leaders must move beyond the desire to please people and do things that are most beneficial for the organization.
A good question can be a powerful thing in the life of a leader. Questions probe the surface and uncover areas where leaders need to grow and develop. The following are a series of application questions to help leaders apply some of the lessons found above on confrontation.
1. What areas am I least likely to confront and why?
2. What people am I least likely to confront and why?
3. How has confrontation been a skill or a stumbling block in my leadership?
4. What three things am I avoiding confronting in my leadership?
5. What three things am I avoiding confronting in my personal life?
6. How will the avoidance of confrontation cost my leadership?
7. What can I do to improve my ability to confront challenges?