Friday, November 07, 2008

People and Their Conflicts

Doing admin at my place of work has made me realise how important people and their relationships with each other are in making sure the organisation functions well.

I also see that there is no such thing as black and white, as in Mrs A is wrong and Mr B is right. Usually the conflict will have its roots in something else and most often, it's a 'minor' thing. But like a burr under a saddle or the pea in the princess' bed (remember the fairytale?), the 'minor' thing festers and festers and in the end, something blows up.

So as an administrator, to ignore 'minor' things and to discount people's opinions and WORSE..to take sides, would be the beginning of major troubles in the organisation.

For example, one of my friends' troubles began when she asked a very very simple question: Are you divorced? But the one who was asked that question took such violent offense that ever since that 'minor' question, she took every opportunity to undermine the other. Even to the point of dragging in others into a protest. I almost ran myself ragged trying to smooth things over. In the end, both moved to other workplaces.

Another friend stood his ground in a conflict and chided another colleague over her unbecoming behaviour. In consequence, he earned her undying enmity. Both are still in the same organisation (my school la...what else?) and just today, he spent an hour just venting his grievances. He's more outraged over her latest shenanigans than anything else. Frankly I don't see how he could've avoided the problem. Sometimes you shouldn't run or avoid a conflict. Just wade in, with all guns blazing....if you have to, then agree to disagree.

I'm more of the peaceable sort myself. But people who underestimate my capacity for verbally loud or physically violent resolutions normally regret it. Got lots of training in my secondary school (good ol' Convent!) Heh heh...and it's also a bonus that after the 'bloodshed' is over, I feel really good. All detoxed, I guess.

Hmmm... doesn't sound very Christian, does it? But then again, I never did truly understand that turning-the-other-cheek bit. Personally, I've found that a tight roundhouse of a slap can be very useful in extreme situations. Or at the very least, the promise of it.

That's one of the things a teacher has to master: the ability to deliver messages through body language or facial expressions. It's very easy to control a classful of rowdy people just by using your eyes and your body language...if you know how. The principle works with adults too...:)

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