Friday, October 16, 2009

4 Malaysian Culture That Prevents Effective Conflict Resolution

Conflict and arguments are a fact of life. Sooner or later you are going to face it, especially if you are in a team or a leader. The only way you can avoid conflict is to isolate yourself from the world. Do you want that? You will face more problems as you strive to achieve more in life. But understand that conflicts are not an enemy or a monster. It is a challenge to be overcome. It is the world's way of determining who is worthy to be successful in life. Where others stop when they see the 'wall', you climb over it. Like I said, one aspect of 'the right attitude' depends on how people react to challenges, conflict and adversity.

So, you should all learn how to handle conflicts well. Remember, the outcome of a conflict resolution is so that a mutually beneficial outcome is reached. You don't want that only you win the argument, but both of you must 'win'. If you keep winning, even if you shouldn't, do you think everyone would continue to support you? There are many reasons people do not handle conflict properly. But today I want the to share the 4 most damaging culture in Malaysians that disrupts effective conflict resolution.
  • It's WHO is saying is much more important than WHAT is being said...
  • You avoid DIRECT confrontation but complain and criticize INDIRECTLY
  • Everything is a personal attack
  • Blame Game
WHO is saying is much more important than WHAT is being said...

Do you see politicians fight? Do you see people fight because of office politics? Do you see people trying to get close to high ranking officials so that they can influence their decisions. Do you see people totally closing their minds to a person's debate just because he is from another political affiliation. The truth does not depend on who is saying it, facts never change but their interpretations of it does. You must base your judgment on objectivity in resolving conflicts. Don't let position/rank or emotions cloud your decision.

You avoid DIRECT confrontation but complain and criticize INDIRECTLY

This always happen in every student club. In meetings you keep keep quite. The student leader gives work, you nod and accept. But then behind the person's back you badmouth him/her. If you don't tell your boss up front, how do you expect him/her to know? Malaysians always try to be harmonious and try to avoid conflicts. But in actuality, you are only postponing the problem. Imagine this. You are unhappy that your boss always gives hints that he isn't satisfied with your work. You don't want to create trouble and try to improve your work, but still not good enough. One day, things blew up and a fight ensues. Only then, you knew that your boss wanted something different then what you thought. If you had earlier chose to confront him immediately and clarify things in the beginning, this would not have happened. When I say confront, that doesn't mean to aggressively foght with him. I'll share how in the next articles.

Everything is a personal attack

In Malaysia, leaders are so sensitive and egoistic. Just because your opinion is different than theirs, it's as if we want to overthrow them. Then, we are branded as the 'evil opponents'. So many high potential individuals are neglected because of this. Separate the person from the issue. We don't care about you, we just want to make things better by giving a fresh opinion. Heh, You say that Malaysian don't have creativity.We do. Just that too many of it is restrained by seniority mentality and office politics by Malaysian leaders. To them, it becomes a matter of ego and pride which they must uphold. In worst cases, the use unethical methods to silence opposition.

In student clubs it is also similar. I have a story from an ex-MPP, he made a mistake of scolding a subordinate in front of her friends. That subordinate would then have her revenge by spreading bad rumors about him and engineer his isolation from his team. This has no positive effect on the boss, the subordinate or the team. Just the pure emotion of revenge. Don't take everything personally and don't take it to heart easily. Be professional. Separate work and emotion. Aware of the emotional pressures in the team. Be forgiving.

Blame Game

When people cannot answer a question in a n argument, they will make excuses. When they can't, they start to blame each other when a problem appears. The problem might not be the person. But it's always easier to blame and push the responsibility to someone else. And the blame game continues, just like Malaysian politics. Then, the problems never gets resolved.
Stop Blaming. Control emotions. Keep it objective. Find Solutions.

There are many cultures that I see in today's politicians that I see are happening to university students. The Blame Game. Unintelligent debates. Empty propaganda mongering. Biased Arguments and etc. You are going to face the same thing in real life, why don't start practicing now. If we can have have the right attitude in solving our conflicts. Then, Malaysia would be a better place.


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