When something’s bugging you do you keep it bottled up inside and let the pressure build until you melt down and go nuclear, or do you confront it head on and get it out of your system – even if that means a heated confrontation – so it doesn’t eat you up inside and drive you bananas?

Said another way, are you an avoider or a confronter?

No, I’m not trying to trip you up with some silly EQ test question. The real question is, did you think I was referring to how you deal with issues at home or at work? Interestingly enough, they’re likely the same. That’s right, how you manage at work is usually consistent with how you deal with stuff at home.

Yes, I know the popular term is lead, not manage. Screw that. I’ve just about had it with all that leadership nonsense. Most people who talk about leadership are full of it. My new mantra is Real Leaders are Managers. But I digress.

Personally, I’ve always been more of the latter type. When I started out as a young up-and-comer, The One Minute Manager and management by walking around were sort of the thing. That suited me just fine. I don’t care what it is, but when something’s wrong, the sooner I act on it, the better, confrontation be damned.

There’s something to be said for that. Problems get solved in real time and don’t fester. On the other hand, my wife says it makes me happy and everyone around me miserable, since my gut reaction is to react, which sometimes translates to overreact and conflict that might otherwise be avoidable.

My wife, on the other hand, is more of the former type. She tends to internalize things. The benefit of that approach is that it gives her plenty of time to think it through and weigh the options. And sometimes the problem just resolves itself. On the other hand, little problems can turn into big problems and, once the lid blows, it’s pretty much too late to get it back on. Trust me, I’ve tried. Doesn’t work.

I imagine that most people lean one way or the other, although I may have exaggerated the extremes just a bit for emphasis. Neither is better or worse, just different. Something to consider.

Interestingly enough, I’ve found my approach to be mostly beneficial in the business world, although it has occasionally burned me. On the relationship side, the results have been sort of reversed. Of course, you’re probably better off being perfectly balanced. If you know anyone like that, keep it to yourself; it just makes the rest of us look bad.

Image credit Scott Lowe via Flickr