Thursday, July 07, 2005

Conflict Management

It's been a long day at office.

I'd been away on the wonderful training for the whole day. And the organization had had some defaulter's list circulated. Of course, once the list was out, none of the projects wanted to be among the list. So majority of the seven hundred odd projects hit on the application developed and maintained by my team to upload their data.

Beyond straining the existing infrastructure, thus spurious activity spiked the helpdesk enquiry. Calls list grew longer and so did the tempers start to run wild. On hindsight, it looks interesting to note how people behave to service desks, when you are in the middle of it all it ain't that funny.

Especially when you realize how education has no relation with cultural, moral and ethical values of a person.

Late in the evening, Apoorva came to me "There's been a problem"

Me: "What?"

"Someone called up on the phone. He spoke to me as though the helpdesk was his servant. His PM/PL is not there and they say their data is missing. And not only that they have a very arrogant tone and they started advising me on how a helpdesk should be." The complaints were endless.

Two minutes later, the project team was in our location. I was surprised. It was like a local tamil movie. A bunch of dark heavyset guys walk into my wing looking around like goons. All they were missing were some hockey sticks. They look for Apoorva. And i stand next to Apoorva. They want to speak to him in the meeting room in private. I am in too. Then they tell half of their team "Thanks machi... naange paathukkurom (Thanks dude - we will manage it ourselves ) and the rest leave.

We get in the room. It took me by surprise that the entire team had come up not to get any isue resolved, but because , apparently , my guy had used the word 'Hell' while speaking to them and they wanted to settle scores. Now these are software engineers and leaders earning handsomely and who are expected to educated highly. And they are here, 8 guys to settle scored with one guy because this guy had used one word while speaking to them and they wanted him to apologize.

I had and will never have any doubt that Apoorva did not use that word. He is not capable of that. But he might have cut the conversation abruptly by keeping the phone down. He would do that, if you cross the limit. Anyways..

Apologize my foot - was the first thing that came into my mind. Rationale took over immedietely. What would have been the purpose? That i could come out as a hero? that i would prove a point? To whom? To four guys who think that it is more important for them to get an apology for using a word than anything else in the world?

What was really surprising was their attitude. Assuming that such a conversation including the word had taken place also, such a reaction as what they had had would have been expected only from uneducated people who had no values in life. It is only them who could have misplaced morals and ethic system as these guys.

I forced myself to smile and had nothing to say, when i realized that the whole conversation was going nowhere. Profusely apologizing, if their egos had been hurt, showed them the door. indicating that we all had better use of our time. After few hmms and hos, raised voices and faked accentual english statements, couple of them got my hints.

They say, you should never wrestle with pigs. You get dirty. The pigs also get dirty, but then, they love it.