Showing posts with label Conflict. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conflict. Show all posts

Monday, January 25, 2010

You Can Win the Battle but Lose the War

It’s human nature to want to be right or have our way. But there are times when you really have to evaluate whether getting what you want at the moment is going to be in the best interest of you, the other person and your relationship for the long-term.

Case in point.

My company rents office space that includes a small dishwasher in the kitchen. We’ve loved that appliance during the past four years, so when it broke a few months ago, we naturally assumed the owner would fix or replace it.

Unfortunately, he’s interested in winning the battle. He’s going by the letter of the lease, which states that he’s responsible for electrical, plumbing and HVAC repairs but does not specify “dishwasher” – so he’s refusing to pick up the $300 tab to make a tenant happy - even though it represents less than 1% of his annual revenues from us. Our building is currently 50% vacant, so you’d think he’d do everything he could to ensure that we renew our lease in two years.

But that’s not what’s happening. Although we’ve made a logical case, he refuses to budge on this issue. So when our lease expires, you can be sure we won’t remain in this building.

Think back to situations where you’ve dug in your heels and refused to budge. Sometimes this is important when it’s an ethical or moral issue. But often we want to “win” because we let our egos get in the way. We’re afraid that we’ll look bad if we appear to be giving in.

I’ve seen the need to be right seriously damage personal and professional relationships. The next time you find yourself in one of these conflicts, take a moment to ask yourself why you feel you must win this particular battle. And if you do win, how will you feel a week from now? Imagine how the other person will feel a month or a year from now – about the situation and about you. Taking a long-term perspective can help you make better decisions and strengthen your relationships.