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Squashing the squabble

DISPUTES, squabbles and dissension are all an inevitable part of our lives! Personalities differ so do thought patterns. Don't we so often scream ourselves hoarse or dissolve into a well of tears over the most trivial of issues? Reason? Conflicts.

Conflict does have a flipside, one that promotes innovation and performance. Different points of view surface and a well-managed conflict can be a transformation tool.

The catch though is in controlling the conflict and resolving it before it gives way to verbal fury.

Anirudh is extremely argumentative. Not a day passes without an argument. Given a chance, he would argue all night long. His ifs and buts, and pros and cons are a never-ending saga, with breaks maybe for reenergising. Nevertheless, everyone turns to him when a conflict has to be resolved.

That is because his tendency to argue is based on a sincere desire to reach an impartial decision. Besides, he presents his opinion with diplomacy and tact, thus softening the blow.

Anirudh's strategy

Identify the root cause

`We had two executives who were always at loggerheads' says Anirudh. ` Every interaction led to a verbal duel and fireworks. Something as insignificant as a lost pen could trigger an argument. Finally, a one to one with the executives was arranged for.

One of them believed that his authority was being undermined and he was being superceded, as he hadn't been consulted on some issue.

Anirudh's advice - look beyond the obvious and get to the root cause of the problem.

Let them talk

When the parties concerned get on a high horse and refuse to talk, the conflict will never get resolved.

You only run out of breath playing envoy from pole to post. Persuade them to air their views. You not only save time and energy, but it is more likely that the cause of the conflict will also surface.

The solution will automatically emerge.

The objective should be to resolve the conflict, not to dredge up slander and accusations.

Hear everybody's point of view

Let both parties have a say in the matter.

The finest kind of mediators are those who view the matter without bias, calm tempers and end hate and mistrust .

Face the problem with courage

If something were causing strife and resentment amongst the staff, it would do no good to pretend the problem does not exist. It could be dangerous.

As the adage goes, nip the problem in the bud, acknowledging it and take steps to resolve the crisis lest it should explode.

Never compromise on


The purpose of equivocating or mediating a conflict is to arrive at a common solution or at least a compromise.

But the organisational ethics or principles should not be sacrificed.

Clarify that some things are non-negotiable. Never compromise on the long-term health of your organisation.

Don't play favourites

Everyone has his favourites. But when mediating, be just and fair.

Playing favourites not only undermines one's credibility, but defeats the very purpose of conflict resolution.

Think twice before deciding on the whys, the wherefores and the whether tos. Justify your decisions.

Promote team building

Conducting regular meetings so that team members can air their views and resolve their problems is an ideal option.

Such meetings provide a forum for expressing grievances, besides initiating team building.

Conflicts are inevitable, but they are not irresolvable.


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