Why always people at the higher positions in corporate like Vice Presidents, Presidents, Directors etc., generally avoid conflicts amongst each other? Even when they have an absolute fact to conflict with the functional head of other department and have the responsibility to defend their team, they avoid conflicts and arguments. Is it because they are culturally more evolved/matured than managers? Is their leadership qualities are exemplary and outstanding; therefore they fight less and avoid conflicts in corporate?
On the contrary, the managers and below the level of managers generally seldom show any resistance or defense when the top management is angry but accepts the blame even if they are no way responsible and then either retreat or escape. Why they behave so?
In simple sense, the bosses (Vice Presidents, Presidents, Directors etc.,) always prefers to avoid conflicts with their counterparts in other departments, whereas the subordinates generally exhibits the tendency to escape from the scene, when there is conflict. Even if someone is caught for wrong reasons, the subordinates often love to run away from the scene in en mass.
The meaning of the word conflict or argument should not be defined as per the dictionary. The fight refers to excise of ones right, responsibility & opinion and debate to bring a logical end to the conflict.
If we are a naturalist and lover of nature, we can learn it better. All the prey animals, however strong and well built they are, always prefers to avoid direct encounter with predators. When they sight the predator, they escape and never experiment.
On the contrary, the predatory animals however strong they might be avoid fighting amongst the species of other predatory animals and tries to co-exist in same habitat. Best examples are the co-existence of lion, hyena, wild dog etc in the same forest ecosystem. The lion even when it is hungry will not run after a hyena to hunt and eat it. Such thing is quite unnatural. Lion would prefer to wait for other prey animals to hunt.
There are two important leadership qualities of people in corporate we can learn from the above example.
In the case of predatory animals, they all know they are quite strong and are built to hunt. If they fight amongst themselves, example lion with hyena, hyena with fox etc., either of them or both of them would incur loss/casualty. Hence they avoid fighting as much as possible. On the contrary, the prey animals are always vulnerable and are the natural choice of all predators, hence instead of engaging in defense, they generally prefer to escape. As much as possible, they avoid direct conflicts.
This is what exactly happening in most corporate. The people at top management level (Vice President, President, Director etc.,) in corporate if picks up fights between each other, the causality for them would be quite high. So they avoid conflicts as much as possible. On the contrary, the people at manager level are always the natural prey of all those in the top management level. Hence, even if the manager has a point to prove and he or she is right, they cannot afford to do so because they are the most preferred choice to blame for any failure or goof up.
Interestingly the people at top management level wonder at the managers and ask why they are not confident and brave to view their opinion when they feel they are right. Why they don’t come out with facts that are right and convincing? Ironically the corporate and HR would seriously discuss about how to empower these people, how to make them confident, what HR training should be given to them etc.
It is only the strategic adjustment between different predators in the jungle causes worry for the prey animals. Imagine, if the predatory animals fight amongst each other means, no prey animal would be scared of the predators because fighters fight to finish whereas the natural victims can remain safe. The fight amongst two different species of predators always is advantageous to the prey animals. But that doesn’t happen easily. Hence the prey animals fear that they are the natural choice of all predators. It is better to escape than fight and prove the strength.
This is what the HR and corporate leaders must understand first. If the managers are not showing confidence means, it is not that they do not have such confidence or leadership qualities, anyway at the end they are only blamed for everything. This culture only is prevailing in most corporate these days. Understand the undercurrent and correct it. You may not require any special HR trainings to make your people leaders.
Dr S Ranganathan
Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum