Monday, 11 July 2016

Why do we fight in meetings?

     In  a professional environment, meetings are a regular part of the day to day routines. A study indicates that 55 % of the meeting ends without any agreement and action plan. Sometimes, the meeting's discussion leads into emotional outburst or a frustration  of inconclusiveness. The presence of mature leader  with very good facilitation skill able to conduct the meeting  without fighting or emotional outburst.

     What could be the reason for fighting in our workplace, particularly in meetings? Recently  came across an article in HBR on this subject and  would like to add my perspectives  on the root cause and smart leader’s solutions approach to the problem.

     Even though we may say the cause for the fight may be time sensitive targets, resource issues like money, material, manpower etc.Those are common in any organizations  and at  surface level, they seem to be the  root cause of fighting, but the real root cause resides at human factors and this needs to be dealt with human psychology perspective.

The major causes from human perspective are

1.Insecurity feeling
2.The inclination to take control  or power

Insecurity feeling:

Somebody in the forum feels insecure about themselves. They feel that they are exposed to their level of knowledge or  skill sets  or  the way the dealing the issues in the past or uncertainty about the proposed changes, etc.To overcome this insecurity feeling or  manage the situation, they use to get into arguments instead of discussing, get  into diversion of discussion agenda  instead of straight dialogue and emotionally step into  fighting mode with verbal attack. 

The inclination to take control or power:

Somebody in the forum inclines towards to take control or power of the situation or workplace. Taking power is nothing wrong as long as it is organizational centered rather than self-centered or egocentric. They get into arguments to prove their point, dictate others instead of listening, and finally get into fighting mode if they feel unable to convince or control the forum.

Solutions approach :

Both are acceptable from a human perspective as we are not perfect in all aspects and this is quite natural. This awareness is required for leaders or facilitators .With this awareness only, a few matured leaders take the following approach to deal with the human causes

1. Understanding the individual or team’s strength / weakness 
2. Good at diverting the personal level clashes to offline meeting, even if requires, personally involved to sort it out in the offline
3. The mindset of “Move forward" given the fact of strength and weakness, always propose third dimension to the problem

The matured person in the forum makes a difference in the quality of meetings.Getting that maturity may be difficult for all,but possible with just awareness of self and others .