Nip the cause in the bud to stop fights

Nip the cause in the bud to stop fights

An easy way to address a conflict is identifying the problem, discussing it with leaders and solving it.

The human mind is very unpredictable. At times, it gets attached to certain ideas and becomes rigid. Then, when someone else comes along with a conflicting idea, it leads to friction, and may even result in a fight.

This can be very destructive if not controlled at the initial stage itself. Inter-personal rivalries, corporate battles, wars between countries—all rarely leave even the most neutral party untouched.

Hence, fights have to be stopped, especially group conflicts, which can be done only through group psychology.

Chanakya, being a master psychologist, had a solution: “Strife among subjects can be averted by winning over the leaders among the subjects or by removal of the cause of strife.” (8.4.18).

Let us take this advice step by step:

Identify the problem

When a fight occurs, it immediately distorts the region’s peace and a lot of time and energy is wasted.

As a strategist, it’s important to end the fight and move on in life. However, to do this, it’s essential to think deep from all angles and find out the root cause of the problem. You need to plan a tentative solution, if not a permanent solution, to end the present fight.

Talk to group leaders

Ask any police officer how they try to calm things down in riots and they will tell you that the first step is to get the warring factions talking.

But it may not be easy to tackle a group of hundred people if all of them are marching at you on the streets.

The solution is to identify who the group leaders and influencers are. Take them out separately and talk to them. If the leader is convinced, the whole group comes under control.

It’s like shutting down a machine: Instead of switching off hundreds of buttons, it’s better to put off the main switch to deactivate the entire set.

Solve the problem

All this should not be just discussions and debates—peace has to be achieved. So the aim should not be forgotten: Solving the main problem and ending the fight.

In the Arthashastra, Chanakya talks about the theories of Sama (discussions), Dana (offering of rewards), Danda (punishments) and Bheda (creating a split). You can use these methods alternatively as the situation demands to achieve your goal.

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.


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