The Fight Club…

    People fight. People disagree. People have conflicting opinions often. When one is a part of an organization or company one comes across different people with different viewpoints on any given situation.

    You have an argument with your parents over the number of hours you spend on whatsapp, you fight with your siblings over the remote control. You misunderstand your friend since he/she cancelled a movie plan at the last minute. You may have a difference of opinion with your seniors over the funding of a project. Conflict has different shades.

    In today’s day and age people simply need a nudge to start arguing and I am not talking about those travelling in crowded local trains only. They tend to take things personally and fail to see the other side of the coin. As managers, team leaders dealing with a variety of employees, it is very important for one to be skillful enough to deal with some contentious situations which are bound to arise from time to time. This is where the concept of mediation, conciliation and arbitration come to the rescue. Whenever I discuss conflict resolution in class as part of my lectures in organizational behavior at Athena School of Management, I usually get a unanimous response that conflicts are negative.

    But let me correct you by saying that not all conflicts are bad. There are ‘good’ conflicts too. Conflicts are positive when they provide an outlet to release the tension simmering within oneself. They also may compel an individual to think over and over again before adopting a course of action and of course, this thinking process may often lead to innovative ideas. But it is when conflict creates misunderstanding, mistrust and discontentment is when it assumes negative proportions.

    Hence, all conflicts are not undesirable. What determines whether a conflict is good or bad is its very nature and purpose. A manager has to play the role of a negotiator, mediator which are an informal process of conflict resolution or opt for an arbitration which is much more standardized and evidential based process depending on the purpose and severity of the conflict.

    Hence if ever you have a difference of opinion with your family members, friends, colleagues or even your superiors, do not hesitate to express yourself. For all you may know the outcome may be a solution which is not just innovative but also interesting and feasible..and if not anything, at least you would feel better to express your concerns and opinions and taking the load off your chest. However, do make sure you put your point across in a polite and civilized manner and are patient enough to hear the other side of the story!

    - Prof. Anwesha Ghosh (Athena School of Management - Powai)