Conflict Resolution Presentation by: Bill Turner (Turner Training Services) Conflict According to psychologists ‘Conflict’ is unavoidable. To be human is to experience conflict! Where can conflict occur? Where one or more strong personalities exist. Where work is routine and monotonous. In areas of high stress. In group settings. Where personalities are mismatched. IN ENFORCEMENT WORKPLACES. Conflict resolution Requires an understanding of: • The communication process • The physiological effects of conflict • The key elements of conflict Communication Is a process in which we interact and transfer information and meaning to each other. Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally. The communication process is simple (but complex) and has three key elements – send, receive and interpret messages. How we communicate Research by Dr Albert Mehrabin (UCLA) indicates that humans communicate in the following manner: 7% Actual words 38% Voice and vocal nuance 55% Body language The basic rules of communication The way the message is delivered always affects the way the message is received. The real communication is the message received not the message intended. The way we begin our message often determines the outcome. Communication is a two way street – we have to give as well as gather. Humans communicate both verbally and nonverbally. Potential barriers to communication Language Culture Gender Noise Anger Fear Conflict Conflict and the ‘body-alarm’ response During emotional or conflict incidents the human body can undergo a significant number of biological changes (over 150). High stress/fear/anger can provoke the body alarm response (often called the flight/fight/freeze response). The body alarm response is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation! The dynamics of the body alarm response The nervous system triggers the BAR. This response is augmented by an ‘adrenal dump’ (the secretion of adrenaline and other hormones into the bloodstream to reinforce and prolong the stress reaction). The circulatory system assists the response by diverting blood from the skin surface, the extremities and the digestive organs and pumping it to the large muscle groups that enhance speed and strength. The dynamics of the body alarm response (continued) The increase in muscle demand means that the heart and lungs have to work harder – this results in higher blood pressure, higher body temperature, increased perspiration and respiration. Blood diversion affects the body’s ability to perform fine/complex motor skills. Blood diversion can also cause digestive disruption which can result in nausea/vomiting. The dynamics of the body alarm response (continued) • Anxiety can overcome body functions resulting in fainting and decreased sensitivity to pain. • Reduced blood flow to the brain can decrease the ability to think and reason. The communication consequences of the body alarm response Blood diversion can effect hearing, sight, speech and breathing. Tightened (constricted) muscles can effect hearing, sight, speech and breathing. Anxiety can effect sight, sound, hearing and concentration. Controlling the body alarm response Understand that it is a natural response (designed to protect you). Control your rate and depth of breathing Scan with your eyes (to prevent tunnel vision). Give yourself space. Conflict dynamics and strategies for resolution The key elements of conflict 1. Conflicts are invariably emotionally driven. 2. Humans are defensive and aggressive in conflict situations. 3. Conflicts are invariably inflamed by a lack of understanding of the issue or the problem. 4. Conflicts are often compounded by a refusal or an inability to communicate. 1. Conflicts are invariably emotionally driven You should therefore: Manage your attitude and behaviour (Remember the dynamics of the Bataris Box). Manage your response to the person’s attitude and behaviour. Focus on the cause of the person’s behaviour and not their attitude. Not react to trigger words or phrases (Remember – the last words you should ever say are the first words that come to your tongue!). Be open and receptive – do not prejudge (Remember to be alert to ‘First Impressions’). 2. Humans are defensive and aggressive in conflict situations You should therefore: Minimise your aggression. Control your temper. Keep your ego in check. Use non-threatening body language. Generate compliance through the use of good tactical communication skills (Remember most people do not like being told what to do). 3. Conflicts are invariably inflamed by a lack of understanding of the issue of the problem You should therefore: Be an active listener (Remember to listen with both your eyes and your ears). Use non-verbal body language (postures and gestures) to signal that you are listening. Focus on what the subject is saying rather than on how they are saying it. Let the other person finish speaking before responding. Actively seek to identify the issue or problem. 4. Conflicts are often compounded by a refusal or inability to communicate You should therefore: Be willing to communicate. Know how to say what has to be said effectively and appropriately. Know how to say it so that people remember. Use your communication skills (sending, receiving, interpreting) to your advantage. Know when to speak and when not to speak. The final word! A woman has the last word in any argument Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument!