“What do you mean?”- 21 January 2014

Both the executives were bright and very useful to the organisation. Both of them had proved their merit on several occasions in the past. And therefore, they were important middle-level functionaries from management’s point of view. Yet, for reasons which nobody knew correctly, they started competing with each other. On many occasions, they fought with each other using sharp words. Their fight was making things difficult for the management.

So, one day, the CEO called both, Sandeep and Yash, for a joint meeting. He wanted to help them sort out the differences and ensure that both continued making significant contributions to the company’s success.
At the meeting, Sandeep and Yash did not see reason and the boss’s point of view. Both kept harking on their own points of view and refused to see sense in the CEO’s approach.

In fact, both worked in different departments and did not have any common ground. But for reasons even they might not have understood, Sandeep and Yash often interfered in each other’s territories and created trouble that cost the company dearly in the long run. All this was going on for a long time of two years.

At that meeting, the CEO had made up his mind. He said rather sternly, “Look fellows, you have been important members of my team. I expect you to make great contributions to the organisational goal. Individually, your work has been good. Yet, you fight despite the fact that you work in altogether separate departments. Now also, for the past two hours, I have been trying to make both of you see sense, but you are refusing to understand my purpose.

“Now, I have come to the end of my patience. I must take a firm decision. The fact that you work in separate departments has not kept you away from each other. Somehow, both of you find some or the other reason to clash. Your fight has now become very personal, and I cannot afford this. So, I am determined to apply brakes to this nonsense.

“I have two options. Only two options. Either you stop all this, or you quit. Both of you. If you do to resign on your own, then I will offer you appropriate compensation and sack you. Make your choice.

“I am sure, both of you are competent and can find other jobs. So, you are welcome to leave if you do not wish to mend your ways. But remember, I want both of you to be in or out. One would not help. If one goes, the other will have to go. For, if I allow one of you to stay on, then I will get the bad name of being partisan, which I am not.

“So, make up your mind. And do it fast. In the next one hour. And if you decide to stay on, which I would welcome, then you will have to give in writing that there would be no more fights between you. This is my final decision for which I have the Board’s green signal.”
Saying this, the boss left his own room for lunch allowing Sandeep and Yash to make the choice.

What happened next is only a matter of detail. They decided to stay on. They also gave written commitment for proper behaviour. Yet, their fights continued and then some time later, the company sacked them unceremoniously.

Such situations do not surface every now and then. Very rarely do people come to such a pass when they cannot tolerate others. But when such a situation comes, the managements, too, have little choice.

In this case, both, Sandeep and Yash, could have risen their differences beyond the personal angle. Surely, there must have been some point at which they developed a great bitterness towards each other. There might have been some very personal and private reason as well, which others never came to know.

But when such a situation comes up, the best way to tackle it for the indulging individuals is to decide whether to continue in employment or not. For, ordinarily, when things get down to such bitter levels, they tend to spoil the atmosphere beyond repairs.

In this particularly case, both, Sandeep and Yash, had a common refrain: Sack him.

“What do you mean by ‘Sack him’? And why shouldn’t I sack you instead?”, the CEO asked.

That is the breaking point, and one should not force the boss to arrive at that point of no return.

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