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Posts Tagged ‘Conflicts’

While etching out some of the feline and canine characters, P G Wodehouse never fails to amuse, entertain and educate. Many of you may agree that even when he decides to capture the spirit of a hearty brawl among different members of these species, he excels himself.

Consider these fight scenes captured by him.  

‘The unpleasantness opened with a low gurgling sound, answered by another a shade louder and possibly more querulous. A momentary silence was followed by a long-drawn note, like rising wind, cut off abruptly and succeeded by a grumbling mutter. The response to this was a couple of sharp howls. Both parties to the contest then indulged in a discontented whining, growing louder and louder until the air was full of electric menace. And then, after another sharp silence, came war, noisy and overwhelming.

Standing at Master Waffles’ side, you could follow almost every movement of that intricate fray, and mark how now one and now the other of the battlers gained a short-lived advantage. It was a great fight. Shrewd blows were taken and given, and in the eye of the imagination you could see the air thick with flying fur. Louder and louder grew the din; and then, at its height, it ceased in one crescendo of tumult, and all was still, save for a faint, angry moaning.’

(Something Fresh)

‘There is about any dog fight a wild, gusty fury which affects the average mortal with something of the helplessness induced by some vast clashing of the elements. It seems so outside one’s jurisdiction. One is oppressed with a sense of the futility of interference. And this was no ordinary dog fight. It was a stunning mêlée, which would have excited favourable comment even among the blasé residents of a negro quarter or the not easily-pleased critics of a Lancashire mining-village. From all over the beach dogs of every size, breed, and colour were racing to the scene: and while some of these merely remained in the ringside seats and barked, a considerable proportion immediately started fighting one another on general principles, well content to be in action without bothering about first causes. The terrier had got the poodle by the left hind-leg and was restating his war-aims. The raffish mongrel was apparently endeavouring to fletcherize a complete stranger of the Sealyham family.

The only reason why dog fights do not go on forever is that Providence has decided that on each such occasion there shall always be among those present one Master Mind; one wizard who, whatever his shortcomings in other battles of life, is in this single particular sphere competent and dominating.

At Roville-sur-Mer it was the red-haired young man. His dark companion might have turned from him in disgust: his services might not have seemed worth retaining by the haughty Scrymgeour: he might be a pain in the neck to “the family”; but he did know how to stop a dog fight. From the first moment of his intervention calm began to steal over the scene. He had the same effect on the almost inextricably entwined belligerents as, in mediaeval legend, the Holy Grail, sliding down the sunbeam, used to have on battling knights. He did not look like a dove of peace, but the most captious could not have denied that he brought home the goods. There was a magic in his soothing hands, a spell in his voice: and in a shorter time than one would have believed possible dog after dog had been sorted out and calmed down; until presently all that was left of Armageddon was one solitary small Scotch terrier, thoughtfully licking a chewed leg. The rest of the combatants, once more in their right mind and wondering what all the fuss was about, had been captured and hauled away in a whirl of recrimination by voluble owners.

(The Adventures of Sally)

Homo sapiens pride themselves on being superior to other species. But the scenarios described above, do these not remind us of bitter fights in our board rooms or even at our homes? The need for a dynamic leader is also brought home so very clearly.

Some introspection would lead us to conclude that when raw anger and impotent rage takes us over, there is little difference between members of different species. In fact, human beings have refined the art far better. We go a step ahead and start fighting others at the mental level, deliberately twisting facts and doing and saying things which would torment the souls of the party of the other part. Avarice and greed overcome our prudence. Human values get thrown out of the window. As to grudges against others, we carry these within us for a very long time, ruining our own health.     

This might well explain why the likes of Augustus and Bartholomew often treat us with a sense of dignified detachment and cast supercilious gazes at us, the lesser mortals.   

(Note: With due respects to Plum, passages quoted above have been slightly edited, so as to focus only on the fight part.)

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ashokbhatia

conflict

An executive fighting his boss

– when he feels the top dog is wrong – is a good sign.

Executives fighting between themselves in the boss’ presence is also the sure sign of a healthy work culture.

Seniors airing their difference of opinion or berating their colleagues is an unhealthy sign.

We all remember the fable of a monkey which mediated between two warring cats and gobbled up the entire piece of cheese at hand.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’)

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conflict

An executive fighting his boss

– when he feels the top dog is wrong – is a good sign.

Executives fighting between themselves in the boss’ presence is also the sure sign of a healthy work culture.

Seniors airing their difference of opinion or berating their colleagues is an unhealthy sign.

We all remember the fable of a monkey which mediated between two warring cats and gobbled up the entire piece of cheese at hand.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’)

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CALLING BACK
If you head an outfit, try calling yourself up once in a while. You may be surprised by the defenses you have built for yourself and your managers. The young women attending to incoming calls in your office may need to be counseled at frequent intervals.

COMPROMISES
When asked to mediate between two colleagues of yours, seek the areas of agreement first. Take clear sides with one, so the responsibility to win rests squarely on the winner, without losing the cooperation of the loser.
When involved in a warring situation, learn to bow out and lose gracefully, if need be. The apparent winner would dread you while your superior could end up appreciating you.

COMPLACENCY
This is a malaise every workplace is stricken with. You may have a set of intelligent, obedient and relevant people working for you. COMPLACENCYBut it is quite likely that half of them would have fallen into the trap of complacency. They would have become critical of the company/department, would be working in a comfort zone, and would be displaying a singular lack of initiative. They would no longer have the shine in their eyes, and would surely not be operating on all four cylinders.
Your HR honchos would be neglecting this lot at the company’s long term peril. An anti-dote package could comprise a sustained program of employee engagement, elaborate mentorship, job rotation, sponsorships for advanced educational courses (either on-line or in the distance mode), recreational breaks and by simply spicing up their work life.
At the individual level, keep watching for signs of falling into the trap of complacency. Analyze, introspect and then speak to your seniors the moment you notice the zeal gone. Or, become a rolling stone and gather no moss!

CONFLICTS, RESOLVING
Executives fighting their bosses when they feel the top dog is wrong is a good sign. Executives fighting between themselves in the boss’ presence is also the sure sign of a healthy work culture. Seniors airing their difference of opinion or berating their colleagues is an unhealthy sign.

CONSULTANTS
Hire only a specialist, preferably a loner, to solve a specific well-defined problem for which an internal solution is not being found.
To win over internal dissent in the short run, it might help to hire a consultant who, being a rank outsider, might have a better acceptability and credibility with your own team.

CREATIVE ACCOUNTING
Joined a company which strongly believes in creative accounting practices? Stick around there only at your own risk and peril. If it is a closely held outfit, the management may just manage to swing it for some time. If it is in the public domain, investors will eventually lose trust. If that happens, your pink slip can not to be too far behind.

CREATIVE DISSATISFACTION
The art of creative dissatisfaction keeps you expanding your frontiers of knowledge and thereby casting your influence net wider. Keep at it – you would never regret it in your career.

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