Saturday, August 30, 2008

Resolving Interpersonal Conflict

During lunchtimes or tea breaks, people sometimes like to immerse themselves in what some might call, gossip and what my friends and I like to call, “b*tching”. In one of the gossip sessions I had, Beng, a friend of mine, (names have been changed to protect privacy) started telling us about an interpersonal conflict story which he had experienced and I’m going to share his story here:

Since Beng was part of the executive committee (exco) of the band, he and the rest of his exco members had to play the part in deciding the new batch of student leaders for the band. Voting was the best option then so all the members of the band were asked to vote for their friends whom they thought would be ideal to sit in the exco. Now there was this particular person (lets call him A), whom Beng and a few other members of the exco felt should not be sitting in the exco position because he had a very unserious attitude. However, due to popularity among his peers, he was voted into the committee.

Upon seeing the results of the voting, Beng brought the matter up to the current exco at that time. Despite Beng’s explanation of his standpoint and how he felt that putting A into the exco will affect the running of the entire band, the Vice-president did not agree with Beng at all. He insisted that A should remain in the committee since he was technically “voted” in and rightfully “deserves” the place in the committee. They both had a long debate over the matter and most of it surrounded issues of ethics and reality.

A vote was finally taken across the entire exco and they all felt that A should not just be “taken” out of the committee and if the voting results were to be altered, the act of voting would be meaningless. So I went on to ask Beng how A performed ever since he became part of the exco and Beng said that he gradually became more serious, which was a good thing.

Conclusion: Interpersonal conflicts, more often than not, arise due to conflicting viewpoints, miscommunication or sometimes even a lack of communication. Everyone, including me, has had their fair share of interpersonal conflicts and honestly, if I were Beng, I would have sounded out to A and told him (in a tactful way of course) that he had to change his attitude should he want to continue staying as a committee member. However, I felt that the situation was well dealt with and ultimately, everyone has the band’s interest at heart.

This brings me to a quick question that I would like to raise: Is there or can there be such a thing as Intrapersonal conflict? If so, is that part of having an alter ego? Because in my opinion, I think that it is possible to have intrapersonal conflict for example, it might be in a situation where a part of you wants to do this, while the other part of you knows that there is certain consequence. Or is that another issue altogether?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Effective Communication

A friend once told me that communication between people is the most important factor in making or breaking relationships and I have never doubted that. While being able to communicate is one thing, communicating well and effectively seems to be another issue that concerns many.

Effective communication implies being able to bring your point across to another party and allowing that party to fully comprehend what you exactly mean. In short, to understand people and be understood as well. In the 21 years that I have lived, I have without a doubt come across countless of incidents whereby miscommunications have arose. Some of them were due to parties not listening actively and thus misinterpreting information, while others were because information was incorrectly disseminated or sentences wrongly phrased. All these problems boil down to people not knowing how to communicate effectively or how significant effects may result if one misinterprets what you mean.

Developing effective communication skills is important in every aspect of life be it in a workplace, in school or even at home because firstly, to reiterate what the friend of mine said, it is crucial in how interpersonal relationships turn out. Secondly, it prevents added misunderstandings and last but not least, it makes you a better person!

In my opinion, communicating effectively is very important especially during group discussions or teamwork. I want to be able to look from the standpoint of my teammates, to understand why he or she gives certain ideas and be capable of providing constructive feedback yet not putting them down. Furthermore, I feel that it is crucial to be able to bring ideas across to people well, under different circumstances and using different communication channels. Below is a cartoon taken from a website and it depicts the poor communication skills within a company. Enjoy!

courtesy of:
PS click on the image for larger view.