We encountered situations related to values, ethics, morale and we have different choices. For example, you see the small kid begging at the signal. You become emotional and compassionate to see her, however you also believe that there is a beggars’ racket active. It is possible that if you give the money to beggars, it will encourage beggars’ racket. It is also creating the habit of begging and that kid will never learn to work hard. Here is a moral dilemma, to give the money or not?
Sometimes while solving the problem we focus on the correlation and not the causation. This mainly happens when there is a lot of data. Sometimes you see the correlations between different variables and solve the problem only focusing on co-relations. We miss the causation. Such types of situations also create a dilemma when you don’t see the link between correlation and causation.
There are different dilemmas we face during our personal and professional life. Ethical, moral, values, legal and so on. In any case there is a conflict and you are not sure about the possible outcomes.
Dilemmas are good. It shows the character and traits of the person while resolving dilemmas. Generally, during interviews, few managers ask questions explaining a hypothetical situation and check the response. It is crucial how the person responds and resolves the dilemma. One of the simple examples is, “Your department is understaffed and there is a lot of pressure on performance. Your few employees are on leave and one employee to whom you expect in the office, calls you and requests the leave as his kid is sick. What and how will you act in such a situation?” Response may vary depending upon the person and you can get the clue about the personality from such responses, and his body language. The question is how you resolve dilemmas in your life. Sometimes something is legal but beyond your values.
We behave differently while dilemma resolution. In our life we have different values, some values are very strong where you would never compromise, some values are flexible and changing in nature depending upon the situation.
On the 15th Day of Mahabharata war, Guru Dronacharya killed Virat and Drupada. This was a big setback to Pandavas. Arjuna was not able to defeat Guru Dronacharya. As far as Dronacharya held a weapon in hand, he was undefeatable. Lord Krishna knows this. To make him unarmed, he makes a plan, where Bhima kills one of the tuskers named Ashwatthama. Ashwaththama was a beloved son of Guru Drona. Bhima kills tusker and proclaims that he killed Ashwaththama. The news spreads like a fire and when Guru Drona hears this and thinks. “Could it be true?” He could not see his son and he got worried. To confirm this, he goes to the Yudhisthira, who was known for truthfulness and asks, “Has Bhim killed Ashwaththamma?” Now Yudhisthira is in a dilemma. His values were strong, how can he tell a lie. He replied, “Yes.” However, Yudhisthira had also uttered, "Naro va kunjaro va," to absolve himself of the sin of lying. Either a man or an elephant. He had chosen to broaden the zone of truthfulness and to blur the distinction between nobility and ignoble dishonesty. Somebody may say that it was unethical, but finally you have to think what is better for the larger and own group.
While resolving such dilemmas, you can follow the process in personal and professional life.
Understanding values and principles, challenging your inner self, inner conscience mind and your Intellectual intelligence. It is called “the principle of moral idealism”. It says that there is a clear distinction between good and bad, between what is acceptable and what is not and that the same is true for all situations. It therefore asks to abide by the rule of law without any exception. Another theory is there is a very thin line between good and bad. It totally depends upon the situation. What may be acceptable in a certain situation can be unacceptable at some other place. Some believe that the authority is competent to take the decision and they will use their intuition to understand what is good and what is bad.
Discuss and debate: Whenever you are in a dilemma, it is good to discuss and debate on different alternatives and consequences of the outcomes. You can use the 6 thinking hats process to investigate different aspects of the problem.
Engage different stakeholders in the organization if this is at organizational level. In personal life, engage with family members, spouse, parents and elders. They will give you a different perspective.
In the VUCA world, dilemmas are at every corner and step of life. It is bad, not to think and take decisions blindly. Dilemmas will test your inner strength and it is up to you what you want to be. Finally, you have to satisfy your inner conscience.
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(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)