Group stays cool in conflict

AMLOST everyone has been on the end of a workplace scuffle, a fight with friends or a run in with a family member.

While many of us are not quite sure how to react when we find ourselves in the bad books, one group of Warwick residents have found out how to remain cool, calm and collected.

Conflict resolution and mediation trainer Scott Dutton stopped off at Slade Campus yesterday to dish out his best pointers for dealing with sticky situations.

Mr Dutton said there were generally four kinds of approaches to conflict – aggressive, passive (hides), passive (pleases or sucks up) and assertive, the first three of which were not very effective.

“The best approach is to be assertive,” he said.

“But without being aggressive.”

He said conflicts were bound to come up as people clashed in different environments.

“If you have conflict in your personal life or at work, it is good to know how to manage that,” he said.

Mr Dutton has a background in social work and psychology and has been mediating conflicts for the past 10 years.

He has been showing others how to do the same for the past seven years.

He said people loved to play the blame game when it came to conflicts but one of the most effective ways to resolve a barney was to take a good hard look at yourself.

“People don’t really like taking responsibility for themselves and for the part they have played,” he said.

He said people also needed to manage their emotions in order to thrash out an issue.

“Many people find it difficult to express themselves and then that comes out in an aggressive way,” he said.

“People have to be mindful of the impact their actions are having on others.”

He said people who most used the workshops were people who work in the community sector but it could benefit people from all walks of life.

Raelene Liddle travelled from Toowoomba to participate and refine her mediation skills, something she uses regularly in her life of work as a tenant advocator.

Judy Chant, who works in disability services in Warwick, said she was surprised with how well Mr Dutton made such heavy subject matter into an interesting workshop.

“He is a very animated trainer,” she said.

“It’s been very valuable and relevant to all jobs and everyday life.”


Pointers to resolve conflict:

Don’t make it personal

Don’t take it personally

Don’t take sides

Don’t take everything at face value

Don’t use jargon

Do raise your concerns in an assertive way

Do take responsibility for your own contribution to the conflict

Do say what you mean and mean what you say

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