Living as a Creator means being, at times, a conscious constructive Challenger.

Many years ago I had the good fortune to be an undergraduate teaching assistant in interpersonal communication.  We taught a tool that is as relevant and useful today as it was back then.  It is called “The Confrontive Script.”

This structure can be quite useful for a Challenger to confront another person in a way that is constructive and maintains a Creator-to-Creator relationship.  It follows a “fill in the blank” format:

  • When you (describe their behavior),
  • I feel (describe how you feel when they engage in the behavior).
  • As a result, I (describe and “own” your reaction).
  • What I would prefer is (offer an alternative acceptable behavior for them to engage in).
  • If things don’t change, I am likely to (state a reasonable and natural consequence).
  • This is important to me because (make a statement as to why the situation or relationship is important).

An example might be:

“When you interrupt me in meetings, I feel devalued and shut down.  As a result, I either withdraw or react with some anger.  What I would prefer is for you to let me finish a thought and perhaps give me a hand signal that you have something to say. If not, I am likely to not contribute much. This is important to me because I want us all to fully and constructively participate in meetings.”

A key to the successful use of this technique is to not blame or to attach a motive to the behavior that you find unacceptable – merely to describe it and to own your own reaction(s).  Stay in the space of a Creator and Challenger.  The final decision to adopt or adapt the alternative behavior is theirs to make (remember, they are a Creator too – whether they know it or not or act like it or not!).