Wisdom Workout

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


Relationship is the glue that keeps our world together. The difference between good relationships and great relationships is the effort put into retaining those relationships. My relationship with my God is by far the most critical relationship in my life. I have found personally that if my relationship with my creator is not solid then try as I may, I find it hard to get other aspects of my life in order. I also find that I lack peace when my relationship with God is lagging.

My relationship with my wife and children is most important to me after my relationship with God. Accolades and accomplishments at work are meaningless unless I am a good husband and father at home. Any relationship will have its share of misunderstandings. So, expecting otherwise is to live in fool's paradise. What is crucial is to deal with these misunderstandings and not ignore them as they will prove to be cancerous in the long run. Few practical steps to resolve misunderstanding are

Eliminate ego. Ego is a false sense of pride. Ego does more damage than bullets and weapons. Many a relationship has been broken by a powerful ego.

Fight the issue and not the person. Many times during a conflict it becomes a war of personalities. Don't fight the person. Instead identify the issue and separate it from the person. I have found in conflict resolution when the distinction is made between the personality and the issue much progress can be made to rectify the relationship as there is lesser animosity between the individuals.

Agree to disagree respectfully. We will not and need not agree to everything that is discussed with the other person but choose to disagree respectfully. Don't be afraid to admit you made a mistake. This will strengthen your relationship. Don’t let pride get in the way. The converse is also true. If you are in the position of offering forgiveness, go for it. It will work for the betterment of the relationship. Offering forgiveness and apologizing are not signs of weakness but of immense strength. Find common grounds to agree on especially when you are taking extreme positions. It's a great way to resolve the conflict.

Avoid speaking behind another's back. This is a good rule of thumb to follow. Not just during times of conflict but in general, avoid speaking behind a person s back. Human nature will make us want to discuss with others how unfairly we have been treated, what was told to us, who was responsible for our present situation etc. but it really should be avoided at all costs.

The reason being that the emotional response to a conflict causes us to say many things that we may later regret and which could cause a greater misunderstanding. So instead a direct approach response is almost always preferred. Speaking directly to the concerned person at the right time in the right way will show that you are mature. Remember that you are not always right. For that matter no one is always right. So, reconsider and re-evaluate your stand.

Put the organisational and team's goal ahead of personal issues. Make sure that throughout the conflict and its resolution that the team and organisation's goals and productivity are not being hampered. If that happens it will directly reflect on you and cause bigger issues to deal with.

Reconciliation means forgetting. This forgetting is not a momentary lapse in memory but a permanent deletion of the conflict from your mind. The reason I emphasize this is because a partial forgetting will cause the conflict to get rehashed in the most inconvenient of times. This will not work to the benefit of the team or the individuals concerned. So be prepared to forgive and really FORGET!

Things to Consider:

1. How much time a week do you invest in the important relationships in your life? If you aren’t investing time in them, have those relationships suffered consequently?

2. Are you generally a forgiving person? If not, why not? What are your struggles with forgiveness?