I have a close personal friend who is going through a very difficult time. In fact its been a near constant crisis for him this last year. What further complicated matters about a week ago was the actions and inaction’s of some of his friends causing further drama based “needless” conflict. Watching the issues unfold I was overcome by a feeling I was watching a group of giggling and crying 14 year old school girls. The embarrassing part was, they were all well into their mid twenties… some even married. I was rather dumbfounded.
Learning how to resolve conflict usually requires a conscious effort to identify, confront and resolve matters rather than relying on an instinctive reaction to hurt or confused feelings. It also requires an objective view of peoples prejudice and bias’. This is a far more delicate issue to confront.
Some people have acquired a considerable resolve to influence a matter based on their prejudice mindset. They would rather promote one person over another based on something other than character or merit. They have created, in their own mind, a set of criteria that determines for them what is “just and fair”. Maybe the person they want has: seniority, they financially need the promotion more than others or even work harder than their piers. Part of being objective doesn’t consider these bias or prejudice factors. In the end a choice of promotion has to do with the persons credibility, maturity and competence. Promotion doesn’t need to have anything to do with seniority or personal needs, or even how hard they have been working. These things are often found in a mature person but not always. Sometimes a hard working “hungry/needy” employee who has been doing their job longer than anyone else is simply not the right person (or mature enough) for the job.
Navigating crisis and drama requires a disciplined objective view of the circumstances. Often times the more people who are available to advise on the situation, the less prejudice/bias can survive. Working in a diverse team setting (in theory) usually resolves the prejudice/bias element.
There is one factor in society that was not often promoted when I was growing up… “entitlement”. There are some people who just assume they are entitled to something just because they want it. It’s like they have minimal understanding of merit, maturity and earning their own way. If some people don’t get what they feel they are entitled to they cry “unjust or unfair”… as if getting what THEY want at the expense of OTHERS is somehow magically “just and fair”. When I was growing up we may have known people who thought that way (and sometimes expressed it) but society in general had much more common sense ingrained in it and we collectively looked down at that kind of behavior. However, now-a-days its common to hear insulting words and even false accusations slung around when people don’t get what they want. It’s like watching a four year old hold his breath and pound the floor in the cereal isle because his mom won’t buy chocolate co-co puffs. What’s really sad is watching a 25 year old turn blue.
Last weekend I watched a few u-tubes of Milton Friedman promoting his book “Free to Choose” (highly recommended). He made a very stark statement… the free market isn’t fair, the free market provides equality of opportunity not the equality of outcome. The free market isn’t prejudice, it doesn’t recognize color or ethnicity it recognizes competency and results. In the real world the free market doesn’t care about entitlement or personal feelings, it doesn’t even figure into the equation.
I hope the younger generation learns to understand the need for maturity and character soon, I think adults are tired of babysitting a 25 year old. If someone wishes to become successful they will have to learn this… its the way the world usually works.