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Confront without Affront

The notion of confronting someone used to leave me tongue-tied. But during my eight years in corporate management, I found that most people, when confronted in the right way, accepted correction and were grateful for help in approaching people or tasks in a more productive way.

While filling in as children's pastor, I placed Joanne (names throughout have been changed) in charge of a particular program. Soon, though, her enthusiasm turned to frustration and she became increasingly short with people. So I met with her.

"Joanne, your passion for children's ministry shows in the way you're tackling this job," I said. "How do you feel about what you're doing?"

"It seems people avoid me when I head their way," she said with a bemused smile. That was the opening I needed.

"Joanne," I said, "I think some are trying to avoid you. I've heard from a few that they felt you ordered them to help in your area. I know you asked, but I think what they're hearing is 'You have to help.'"

With guilt and shame ...

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