John Maxwell offers great advice for leaders and managers, who must sometimes correct problems or issues with members of the team.  It is always best to do so privately and encourage professionals at the end, when these corrections are sometimes needed.

I bet you’ve heard this before: In any organization, people are the most valuable asset. And as a leader, you probably understand that it’s true. No matter how you measure it, people offer the highest return on investment over the longest time. When you take care of your people and treat them well, they have the potential to create incredible success for the organization.

However, we sometimes interpret this concept in an ineffective way. “Taking care of” people is understood by some leaders as “always being ‘nice’ and never offering any correction.” And that belief can cause real problems. Why? Because everyone needs correction sometimes. People aren’t perfect, so they’re going to make mistakes. Communication isn’t foolproof, so sometimes followers misunderstand what is being requested. And a need for a course correction arises.

The Ten Commandments of Confrontation

So, keeping in mind the overall goals of clarifying, and treating the person the way they would want to be treated, here are my Ten Commandments of Confrontation:

1. Thou shalt confront others in private.
2. Thou shalt confront as soon as possible and not look for “a better time.”
3. Thou shalt stick to the issue at hand.
4. Thou shalt make thy point and not repeat it.
5. Thou shalt deal only with actions that can be changed.
6. Thou shalt avoid sarcasm (especially in an email or text).
7. Thou shalt avoid words like always and never because they are rarely accurate.
8. Thou shalt ask questions and offer suggestions.
9. Thou shalt not apologize for the confrontation.
10. Thou shalt remember to highlight the person’s positive contributions.