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Constructive Confrontation

by Sally Schroder

Southerners are raised to be genteel with one another, a cultural trait that can make us averse to confrontation. As a Yankee friend says, “You Southerners are polite to the point of untruthfulness.”

Perhaps we assume all confrontation is unpleasant.

Managers have a moral obligation to be honest with people. We have to assess performance candidly, even when negative. Otherwise, our colleagues miss valuable learning opportunities.

Criticism can be delivered constructively, especially if the emphasis is on improving someone’s future performance.

Confrontation can be direct and still be genteel. We Southerners just have to work at it a bit.

– Kip Caffey, Cary Street Partners

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