day 116: Turf Wars

It’s right there. Right there on the tip of our tongue. It’s ready to come out with a sting that could turn into fury. It’s the words that would cause a fight. At some point or another we all feel those words rising up inside of us as we disagree over a contentious point of discussion at work. We can get ourselves all worked up over the silliest of things. It could be just a differing thought on how something should get done or a disagreement on who should go do the work. In the business world, these are sometimes called “turf wars”; the act of someone stepping over their own boundaries of what they are supposed to be doing and taking on the work of someone else without being invited to do so. People do it all the time and why it can be so infuriating versus helpful is that the person who typically is crossing over is doing so to show others that they could do the job better than the next person. It is a self-glory move. When that most would upset me was when someone would do that to me when I knew that that they weren’t doing so well in their own area of responsibilities and they were just using this is a deflection away from the attention on where they were failing. Regardless of the motive, these are some of the things that can cause strong emotions at work and make us stray from our purpose. Needless to say that we are not to be dragged down into this activity. Proverbs 17:14 says: “Beginning a quarrel is like opening up a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute break out.” These are wise words. If we can stop ourselves short of the quarrel then there really is no turf war to be fought. It takes two to quarrel or fight, so all we have to do is rise above it all, hold our emotions in place and deal with the issue in a straightforward, non-combative way. More often than not that will mean not responding in the moment but instead picking the right time and place to bring forward the concern when our emotions are in check and the other person won’t feel defensive. Believe me, this is not easy as our (my) first instinct is to deal with it now and take the offense. A deep breath, a walk outside, a good night’s sleep, and a long prayer will do wonders for not starting or fueling the fight. As you go through today watch for the moments and the feelings inside of you that could come to a boil if you let them, and then don’t let them. Instead, remember that we are not to be the quarrellers, we are to be the peacemakers.

Reference: Proverbs 17:14 (New Living Testament)