Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
I had a fallout with my boss a while ago, and it wasn’t quite palatable. A troubled relationship with one’s boss as stated by Dr. Travis Bradberry can destroy the most talented person’s confidence. It’s hard to be confident, when your boss sabotages, criticizes or undermine your contributions. I identified where our relationship went south, and decided to get things back on track. So I called for a meeting, by asking to see her and discuss the issues in the presence of another superior colleague.
I listed the issues which caused our fall out, and perhaps might cause an affray if not looked into and resolved quickly. I mentioned her areas of blind-spots, perhaps perpetuated as a result of her indifference or ignorance to them. It could have caused her a pitfall and a downward spiral, if not quickly looked into and resolved. I had my own issues as well, which she mentioned. After all we are all a series of work in progress. Prior to then, I had reached the zone of serenity most men attain before an emotional outburst or a tirade and finally combat. But as a huge proponent of nonviolence, I opted for a dialogue, rather than employing a confrontational approach. She went emotional, and her anger grew more towards me the following weeks, I could literally feel her anger, as she avoided much communication or contact with me. Thanks to the intervention of our superior colleague. Resentment had already began to build up in me likewise. All these happened because she felt I had disrespected and slandered her. According to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) “it is not slander if it is true”. Everything I said was true, I only stated facts, which could be backed up by any of my former colleagues who have experienced something similar or different while under her.
Heaven knows that my aim and intention were never to humiliate her, because I saw her break down and sob, after which her face turned white with anger. But rather I had said those words to win her friendship and understanding back. It was clear to me from the beginning, that the end I sought from our meeting was a work environment at peace with itself, a work-culture that could live with its conscience. An environment where my efforts won’t be sabotaged, my contributions undermined but rather acknowledged and appreciated. A workplace I would anticipate coming to, and would relish every minute spent while around to dispense my duties. The aspirations I shared with every other workers (Human beings) across the globe, is the liberty of knowing that our leaders are accountable to us, and that we won’t be ostracized for disagreeing with them, or speaking our mind when we adjudge them wrong.
I understood that in the African work-place settings, people younger than you are in age, are not meant to point out your errors, or call you out for being inefficient. It is broadly termed “Rude and Disrespectful” The Elders are meant to be revered, not questioned but rather to listen in obedience. This yarn is knitted and woven into the fibers and beings of all Africans. This equates to what Africa itself termed the “Western Arrogance of feeling that it had everything to teach the others and nothing to learn from them”. This in itself isn’t just. Organizations held together by fear and repression may often offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder.
I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek a common ground. Here is the true meaning and value of conflict resolution, when it helps us to see the opposition’s point of view, to hear their questions, to know their assessment of ourselves. For from their views, we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn, grow and profit from the wisdom of the people we call the opposition. We should always make efforts to resolve conflicts, before thinking about quitting our jobs and moving on.