How do you handle conflict?

Conflicts are inevitable in our daily lives. How many of us realize that our quality of life depends on the way we handle conflicts. There are many ways people handle conflict;

The common mistakes I observe, day in day out, are:
  1. Do nothing-allow conflicts to pile up one above the other
  2. Wait for the "last straw on the camel's back" and explode
  3. Withdraw completely and give the silent treatment to the other person
  4. Be unreasonable and unwilling to listen to the other's view point
  5. Play the blame game
  6. Crush and suppress the other person because you are taller or stronger or elder or you have some kind of authority on him/her
  7. Say mean and hurtful things which you actually don't mean
  8. Bottle up your hurt for hours, days, weeks, months, years or the entire lifetime
  9. Not make the first move to resolve the conflict and wait for the other person to take the initiative
  10. Show your anger on someone else
  11. Try to solve the conflict in the heat of the moment, instead of waiting for more saner times
  12. Labeling each other in a hurtful manner
It is important to handle conflict and resolve it at the earliest. Ability to bring the conflict out in the open, listen to each other deeply, with respect, acknowledge the mistakes on both sides, apologize and be willing to forget and forgive is crucial to having a good quality of life.

In case you are making any of the mistakes mentioned above, it is time to stop them now.

Invariably, your willingness to make the first move to reach out and resolve the conflict will be your first step towards resolving it.

Do you have someone with whom you have had a major conflict? Make that first move, be patient and invest in the process of conflict resolution, and try your best to resolve it.

You may be surprised by the results because in many cases the conflict may get resolved much quicker than you think.

Buy this book by Tim Ursiny and you will be able to handle conflict bravely. Here is the link to the book!
The Coward's Guide to Conflict: Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run Than Fight

Do you send people to the "School of Hard Knocks"?

When a person consistently commits errors or exhibits attitudinal tantrums, or is disloyal to you and betrays you, what do you do with him/her?

It is very important to know your options and also to know how and when to use the various options. It is also important to understand which options are dysfunctional and should be avoided totally.

Let's examine the various options you have:
  1. Plot to teach him/her a lesson
  2. Pick up a fight
  3. Critique
  4. Send him/her to the "School of Hard Knocks"

Plotting against the person and finding ways and means to fix him/her, in such a manner that he/she will be shocked into learning a lesson, is a very dysfunctional approach. The pitfalls in this approach is that your plan may misfire or the lesson they will pick up will be the wrong one and, over and above all this, it could damage relationship permanently.

In this approach, you are playing games and this can trigger the other person responding in a similar fashion.

Picking up a fight, again is dysfunctional, as it may not achieve what you want and may worsen the situation.

The choice between the options critique (the best option) and the "School of hard knocks" depends on the situation, context and the amount of trust between you and the person involved.

You can use critique, if trust levels are high or after you build trust levels high enough;Here you will openly discuss about the dysfunctional behaviour and its impact on you and others and will negotiate an appropriate action plan with the person to help him/her avoid such a behaviour in the future; This is a problem solving approach.

What if, after all your interventions, the person still continues to err or he/she doesn't care enough to make an effort to change or he/she has character flaws and is duplicitous and opportunistic?

In such a situation you need to take steps to protect yourself/your colleagues/co workers/team members/ family/organization or anyone the person's behaviour may impact negatively; You can let go (for the time being?) and send him/her to the "School of Hard Knocks"

School of Hard Knocks is the most painful school in the world; This is where "students" are punished;This is where "students" go to suffer and learn, through experiences they have brought onto themselves, by the consequences of their behaviour. Experience is the best teacher and hopefully, they will learn.

While they are in the School of Hard knocks, you may choose to ease their pain, because you are compassionate, by being there for them or chose to completely ignore them.

The choice is, always, yours!

Do you critique or do you judge? Do you label people?

My wife and I decided to completely stop judging others for a period of one month, to start with. We also decided that we will monitor each other and make a funny, warning sound like "ehgnaaaaa!" when we spot each other judging anyone.

It is one thing to critique others so that they learn and totally another thing to judge others. Critique focuses on the behaviour and its impact which we need to identify and give feedback to the individual who originated that behaviour, provided the trust levels between that person and us are high.

Judging, however, is a totally different matter altogether. To judge a person, either silently or in private, or with that person himself/herself openly, is to label him/her permanently.

Labels are destructive. How often have I seen people label each other in a manner that many a times these labels last a lifetime and cause tremendous damage.

When was the last time you labeled a person? It is time now to take stock. What about your labels?

Reverse Networking

As I was sitting in my car today, I suddenly remembered an old boss of mine. Where is he now? What is he doing right now? How is he? I suddenly realized, I had no clue.

My mind went further down the timeline, in the past, and many images of people came to me. Amongst them were significant people who have had tremendous influence on me.

My kindergarten teacher, who taught me to tie my shoe laces, my chemistry teacher, who aroused my interest in behavioural science, my english teacher, whose classes, I used to cherish, another boss of mine, who had mentored and coached me, my dad's friend, who had taught me the importance of reading, all these people in small and big ways have made me the person who I am today. The list of people who influenced me can go on and on.

How many of them am I in touch with now? In the whole list of people, only four of them. Even the ones I am in touch with, the credit will go to my wife and not to me. She is the one, in our family, who always keeps in touch with people, a quality, I greatly admire in her.

It is sad that in my busy, single minded focus to achieve my goals and climb the ladder, I totally forgot, the very people who had played major roles, through their influence, to make me the person who I am today. A lot of my success, I have achieved today, I owe it to them. Alas! I don't even know where they are to say a thank you.

In this age of warped speed, with people pursuing their career/personal goals and networking with a purpose to further their own interests, I would strongly recommend reverse networking. I would recommend, tracking down every person who has had a positive influence on you, just to say thank you and show them that you care.

I don't know how many of those people I will be able to contact now, but I do know that even if I am able to contact a few of them and thank them, the experience and the benefit to me and to them will be priceless.

Henceforth, I have decided to note down and keep in touch with people who will influence me and network with them, purely from a point of view of showing them I care.

What about you? How many of the people who have influenced you are you in touch? How many of them did you say thank you? Think about it.
Try it! It may further change your life.

How are you faring with respect to your new year resolutions?

I am just doing a periodic critique here. I find myself fully in control, with respect to all of my new year resolutions. I wonder, why I didn't do these, very beneficial, things earlier.
I think the reasons for success are as follows:
  • High degree of commitment

  • High degree of self-discipline

  • Intense desire to reach specific goals related to the resolutions

  • Subordinating other activities, such as watching TV, to the new year resolutions

  • Family support and encouragement

Am I committed because these are a new year resolutions? Can we manufacture commitment during other times of the year?

The key, above all, is to be ruthless with yourself till these resolutions become habits and take on a life of its own.

You cannot let go the plane till you cruise to an appropriate altitude. Once you reach the optimal altitude, you can, then, go on an auto pilot mode.

What is your experience so far?