Mission: To significantly improve the safety and well being of the people we advise and train

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conflict management courses aggressive female pointing at doctor

Dealing with conflict

There is no conflict without passion. If we don’t agree with someone but don’t really care, then there will be no conflict. If however we disagree with someone and feel passionately about the outcome there is inevitable conflict. Passion can be a positive emotion, unfortunately it can also be a very negative one and in conflict that emotional reaction is simply another way to describe the ‘fight or flight’ response. Unfortunately once the ‘fight or flight’ response is initiated the emotional areas of the brain will over-ride the more logical systems and people will become less rational and more ‘stupid’ as a result. The more ‘stupid’ they become, the less likely communication skills alone will work and the more likely verbal aggression will turn to violence.

This is why we do not believe in teaching people who have to deal with face to face conflict, communication skills in isolation. Staff also need the knowledge and skills required to recognise danger and protect themselves (and the people for whom they have a duty of care) should verbal aggression turn to  violence. Even if those skills are never tested, it will allow staff to operate more professionally and with confidence. To simply ignore the risk of violence in such situations is naive, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

Unfortunately personal safety training has been brought into disrepute by far too many trainers and training organisations who do not have the expertise or credible experience to teach the subject properly. As a result skills are often taught which are too numerous, too complex or irrelevant. This is compounded by using teaching methodologies which are designed for learning skills over a long time period. As most training is of necessity delivered in a much shorter time frame (e.g. a one day course) using such methodology inevitably results in rapid skills fade. Consequently people who have attended such training feel quite rightly that it is a waste of time.

Putting people in face to face conflict situations without any personal safety training is akin to flying a potentially faulty aeroplane without a parachute. Hopefully you will not need it… but it would be nice to know it was there if you did. The only thing worse than not providing proper training, is to create the illusion of providing such training. Giving staff training which is unrealistic and inappropriate is the moral equivalent of giving the pilot a bag of dirty washing and telling him it is a parachute. The most you will achieve is to create  a sense of confidence…right up until the point where expectation meets reality…

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