Published: 17th February 2022
E-Canteen Fundas: Conflicts leaving the team in knots? Here's how you can untangle it all amicably
Conflict happens when both parties believe they’re right. To resolve conflict, take the leader’s position and rise above the situation. Change your energy first!
‘Our group’s Vice-Captain Sanjana and I are having major problems,’ said Rinku. ‘It’s affecting the group’s energy.’
‘Yes,’ said Rahul. ‘Even I can see from the outside that everything is stuck.’
‘What exactly is happening?’ asked Rakesh.
‘Sanjana is not cooperating,’ said Rinku. ‘She opposes my point with no rationale, without listening. It’s almost like she has an agenda to mess things up. If it continues like this we may have to remove her from the committee. But she was really good, bhaiyya. I don’t know why she has become so unreasonable suddenly.’ ‘Rinku,’ said Rakesh. ‘Like we discussed earlier, people management is all about energy management — ours and others’. In fact, other people’s energy changes miraculously when our energy changes — so, in a way, we have the power to manage the energy in the space. Right now, your energies are on different frequencies so you’re stuck.’
‘It’s all her fault,’ said Rinku. ‘I wish she was more reasonable.’
‘Rinku, though you may feel you’re right and that she’s wrong, it’s your job to resolve this issue in the interests of the team,’ said Rakesh. ‘Instead of finding faults with her, rise above this situation. Try to understand why she’s behaving like this — the real dynamic behind what she’s trying to say through her actions. When a child cries you do not punish the child, do you? You understand what she wants and give it that or distract it. So, be a leader and resolve the situation, don’t be another victim who is adding to the mess.’
‘How, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘All conflicts happen because two parties believe they are both right – but have been wronged,’ said Rakesh. ‘As a leader, you must understand that everyone has a perspective and they feel strongly about it. When you accept that there are other perspectives and that they could be right too, it changes your energy from being closed to being open.’
‘Hmm, but what if she continues to be stubborn?’ said Rinku.
‘When someone behaves irrationally it means they are in an insecure space,’ said Rakesh. ‘In your case, both of you are insecure and are trying to prove yourself right. As the leader, it’s your job to bring secure energy to the space. Being secure simply means not defending or proving your perspective. Instead, be secure about your stand and also, be open to other perspectives. Both can exist.’
‘But how will things change?’ asked Rinku. ‘All I am doing is accepting that she has a perspective. It will change my energy but what about hers?’
‘Rinku, once your energy changes, the energy in the space changes,’ said Rakesh. ‘All you have to do is not judge her and ask her to convey what she wants to. Give her complete space. Listen actively without interrupting. Let her express herself fully, even if it’s just venting. Try to understand her real issue. What’s making her insecure?’
‘Like what?’ asked Rahul.
‘Like, maybe she feels she is not being heard in your meetings,’ said Rakesh. ‘Or not being respected, or not feeling good enough. Find out. Only when you give her space to express, make her feel heard and respected will you be able to make her feel secure enough to say what she really feels.’
‘So, we simply listen to whatever she is saying?’ asked Rahul. ‘Even if it’s wrong? And not defend ourselves.’
‘Yes,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘As a leader, listen to her viewpoint without your judgment. Something is bothering her and you must know what it is to resolve it. Most times people say something but mean something else. For instance, when we ask others how they’re feeling, they say ‘Fine’ — when we all know they are not. To get them to speak the truth we must give them space to express themselves fully, listen genuinely and make them feel secure to communicate honestly.’
‘But will she be more rational after that, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘You know, it’s like traffic,’ said Rakesh. ‘When you see a space you’re angling for and find there’s another car going for it, we get insecure about losing it and accelerate. It’s a human survival mechanism — to attack or run. When we attack, the other person feels threatened and attacks us back. But on the other hand, if we slow down, the other person slows down too. It’s instinctive, not rational. So make them feel secure, so they don’t feel threatened and there’s no conflict.’
‘Wow! Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘It would have been terrible to lose Sanjana. I’ll take the leader’s position here and resolve this.’
Pro Tip: Conflict happens when both parties believe they’re right. To resolve conflict, take the leader’s position and rise above the situation. Change your energy first by accepting that everyone has a perspective that they would like to be heard and respected. Listen actively to their perspective and let them express themselves fully. Once they feel secure, they open up and communication is established again.