Jessica Soroky’s Guest Post #32: Confront Means To Face Something

Respect — we all know the word and understand the meaning behind it.

We were all taught in school or by our parents how to “be respectful.” Being respectful was weaved into our morals and expanded into our understanding of ethics.

Over the past few weeks, maybe even months, I have struggled with an on-going problem of unethical and disrespectful behavior from a handful of people, all from the same group.

The tension kept building as business deals weren’t upheld — agreements were made and then not followed through.

When I’m faced with something that I perceive as a problem, I can feel my body get hot, my temper flare, and the desire to run my mouth is almost unstoppable.

I could hear my mentors in my head, “When those around you are below the line, raise your own level of responsibility.”

“Below the line” refers to all the stages below “Responsibility” in The Responsibility Process™.

The only way I knew to raise my level of responsibility was to not respond at all.

When I tried talking about the issue to those people that offer safety, it quickly turned into a rant. I wasn’t ready to work through the problem – to confront it head on.

Days passed, then a week. I had convinced myself I had let it go. The reality was that I had just buried it deep enough that it wasn’t consuming my conscious thought.

The weekend came and it was time to work during a conference. I knew I would be seeing the individuals involved and my intention was to let it go.

Over the course of the next two days I felt disrespected and degraded on more than one occasion by more than one person. I had reached my limit, and I felt myself shutting down and getting very quiet.

The final disrespectful comment tested my ability to pause before I spoke — my mouth opened before my brain could digest what had just been said.

I went into defense mode, pointing out to one of the men how disrespectful he had been toward me. I had confronted one of the incidents but felt no different.

The rest of the weekend the numerous incidents were stuck in my head. How could I confront this? Why was I afraid to confront it?

As I traveled home, I received a call from the very same man who had made the final comment that set me over the edge.

He confronted the situation and sincerely apologized. I was amazed by his ability to practice confront and move to responsibility.

I felt part of the weight fall off my shoulders as I accepted his apology and thanked him for first being aware that he crossed a line and then having the strength to confront it.

I was taught at the beginning of my leadership journey that confronting something or someone didn’t have to be a negative or aggressive event.

The definition of confront is simply “to face something.”

I began to think about my own ability to confront a situation. When it came to facing myself, I had become a pro, but facing someone else and standing up for myself was a whole different level of confront.

He inspired me to face the problem by choosing to start processing it and stop avoiding it just because it was uncomfortable.

The other gentlemen involved had asked to talk but I chose to take a few days to myself. I needed to work through the different mental states before reaching out to the other people involved.

When I dialed his number, my anxiety grew. I began to wonder if it was even worth confronting him.

When he picked up the phone, I struggled through chitchat before finally getting to the point.

Even though I stumbled over my words, before speaking I took a few extra seconds to really think about what I was going to say.

The conversation stayed very constructive and we worked through the problem together. At the end, I paused and became aware that I had just grown without someone else pointing it out for the first time.

Not only was I aware that this problem was living in my head over the course of multiple days, but instead of attacking it aggressively, I chose to step away from it for a few days and allowed for the time I needed to process.

I closed the call thanking him for giving me the time I needed to process. His allowance gave me what I needed to reach responsibility before responding to the problem.

Every time I practice confront, it gets a little easier. With each experience, I learn more about myself and how I handle problems.

This week my stretch is to allow for confront as an opportunity for growth.

Jessica Soroky, CSM

Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Leadership, Responsibility on 04/16/2014 01:32 am
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