Confrontation is something I hate more than most things. I have a heightened sense of what others think of me and I need to be liked by people I come in contact with on a daily basis. At work, we have 300+ members that use our co-working space as an office. On any given there are 100 people at a time in our facilities. With this, we have regulars that are there every day, and less frequent users that come in a few times a week.
I pride myself in knowing the names and company ideas of a majority of the people that work out of our space daily. I ask about their businesses and their families and call many of them a friend of mine. This is great for customer retention, but it can make for a very difficult situation when a member crosses a line or breaks a rule.
As many of you know, I run all of the events in our space. For members, room fees are significantly less than they would be the general public. This comes with the notion that they will be responsible for the event and for returning the space in the condition in which they found it. For the most part, members respect this policy, but when they don’t they do it in a large way. Typically, in the situation my staff ends up doing hours of cleanup and I charge a clean-up fee to the member.
This last week I had to implement a cleaning fee to a member that is generally very nice. This is literally my nightmare scenario. I spent two days concocting my email notice making it sound professional, yet sympathetic. I had several of my colleagues look over it and they all agreed it was foolproof. Well, apparently, it wasn’t because I received an email back saying that the member planned to dispute the charges. My manager advised me to send an email further laying out why we decided to charge this fee and then to go ahead and charge his card. I literally contemplated taking the next day off to avoid this person after sending the email. I spent all night worrying that this person would hate me and that he would convince other members to hate me, a guess what happened. Nothing. The charge was processed. We both came into work the next day. No words were exchanged. He didn’t tell anyone about how terrible I am, and he didn’t confront me in person.
The fear around confrontation is mostly associated with the story we create in our own head. We play through the scenarios and expect the worst when the outcome does not always match our expectations. Remember this when you are facing confrontation in your lift. It is a necessary evil that you will face many times in your life. Be careful not to build the story up in your head and create anxiety around a reaction that hasn’t happened yet. When confrontation arises, stand your ground, remain respectful and understand when you need to walk away. Remember that it will not always come to this, but be prepared for the situation when confrontation arises.