Conflicts, Egos and the Mirror

“I know for sure!!! Our heads of marketing and sales just cannot get along.” The production head was sharing his observation with the new Finance manager. “You just watch them
06 Aug 2016 10:08
Conflicts, Egos and the Mirror

“I know for sure!!! Our heads of marketing and sales just cannot get along.”

The production head was sharing his observation with the new Finance manager.

“You just watch them at the next Head of Department meeting. You will know exactly what I am saying.”

The manager nodded his head in surprise; then mischievously smiled and walked away.

His smile was a bit surprising and the production head was left to feel a bit confused.

The Head of Department meeting was to happen five days later. The new manager of finance was an extremely enthusiastic person with lots of positive attitude and a whole lot of experience too.

That day arrived; the day when the head of department or HOD meeting was to happen.

At exactly 2pm all the heads of their respective departments and also certain functional managers walked into the newly-renovated conference room.


The meeting and presentations

The meeting began with the formal introduction of the new manager of finance, Mr Avaneesh.

The meeting then continued with the planned presentations by those who were told to present in the previous meeting by the Managing Director.

Among the presenters were the Marketing as well as the Sales head and joining them as the third presenter was the extremely dynamic and successful Daniel.

He was heading the Research & Development team that was responsible for the development as well as the maintenance of the highest levels of ‘product’ quality.

The first to present was Daniel and he truly rendered an excellent presentation on his subject.

After the warm applause the Managing Director invited the Sales head to come forward to make her presentation.

As she stood up, even Manoj, the marketing head stood up. Both of them looked at each other and to the surprise of all the others present, walked together towards the presentation platform.

The sales head, Priya , addressed everyone.

“If permitted by all of you we, that is Manoj and myself would like to make a joint presentation and after all both the functions we are heading are in any case very intensely connected,” she said.

Hearing this request, the managing director smilingly gave them his positive nod and the others too informally gave them their approval for the joint presentation. The presentation was initiated by Manoj.


An excellent explanation

In the 15 minutes of his time allotted to him he beautifully explained the new innovative Marketing practices as well as the path forward towards the accomplishing the next quarter targets with specific plans and strategies.

In his concluding remark he sincerely thanked the sales team for their sustained support in executing the marketing plans.

This particular remark got almost everyone including the managing director in expressions of pleasant surprise.

Now it was Priya’s turn to present and she made a very clear and concise presentation about the sales figures as well as the future projections.

And then in a very honest tone she requested Manoj to stand up and told the entire audience present about how the marketing and the sales teams will be working together in the future.

There was a spontaneous and thundering applause to their collective presentation.


Looking beyond rivalries

Priya and Manoj did not walk back to their chairs. Priya continued.

“Dear colleagues, I know most of you are extremely astonished to see me and Manoj actually giving a presentation together,” she said.

“For most you we both have always been great rivals and even adversaries. And honestly, you all are not wrong in assuming so because it is true; rather I must clarify, it WAS true!

“We both could not even look eye to eye. We also would easily get into futile fights or rather conflicts.

“We would argue not to resolve issues but to only prove whose department is better and whose is not.

“I believe due to our constant negativity and attitude of trying to just prove the other wrong rather than working towards a common goal, even our respective teams began to suffer.

“And all this was surely having a negative and also a decelerating effect upon the performance of our respective departments and I am sure even upon the overall organisational productivity.

“But dear colleagues, all this changed only three days ago. One gentleman came and met us both.

“He made us understand that an organisation and its goals are always more important than individual EGOs.

“We were pleasantly and politely told about the simple and yet powerful THREE ‘R’s for dealing with conflicts.”

She said these were Recognise the problems, Respond to the problems and finally to Resolve the problems.

“He also made us aware about the effects especially the negative effects that our ego issues were having upon our respective team members,” Priya said.

“Not only our team members but also our colleagues. There would be some who would be genuinely concerned and there also would be those who could extract sadistic pleasure in seeing us constantly fight and argue.

“Frankly, it wasn’t that we were not aware about all this but we were completely swallowed and enveloped by our own EGOs.

“I believe that we needed someone to show us the mirror. And the person who showed us that mirror is among us today.”

As she said this, everyone looked at each other and then looked towards the Managing Director as if to suggest it may have been him. Manoj then took over from Priya.

“Dear colleagues, Priya is right. Somehow we both had totally forgotten that individual attitudes and egos can create problems and conflicts and these should be dealt with in the interest of accomplishing a higher and common organizational goal,” he said.

“I must hence most sincerely thank that person for making us aware of something which we probably knew from before but did not work upon.

“That person is Mr Avaneesh, our new Finance Manager! Yes! He may be new but we have known him from our days in University.

“He was a couple years senior to me and five years senior to Priya.

“He used to organise various events on team working and communication skills development in the university for all the students; and we always looked at him as our role model.

“A few days ago he met me and had a long chat. I believe he did the same with Priya. And then just a couple of days ago all the three of us met up for an informal coffee.

“The informality in our interaction also played a role. It was after many years that Priya and me actually spoke especially with that kind of openness and candor.

“We discussed the reasons for us getting into a negative and a mostly non-productive kind of a corporate relationship between the two of us.

“Through our candid interaction we have realised that even in future if there will be genuine disagreements and which I am sure there will be, we both must start positively communicating about it rather than creating assumptions and negative perceptions leading t unnecessary misunderstandings!”


The lessons learnt

Dear readers, the story about Manoj and Priya is not a rare one.

In many organisations such types of unnecessary conflicts and negative corporate and business relationships do happen.

It is then that we must start recognising, responding and resolving these issues with the help of positive communication which means communication through speaking.

But more importantly LISTENING with the ‘right intention’; Positive Attitude; Sincerely Comprehending and Understanding as well as Empathising the situations.

Finally, inspiring ourselves with a very Clear awareness of the Collective organisational GOAL!
Mayur Kalbag is a Leadership Coach, Corporate Trainer & Author. He can be contacted via email:


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