Conflict # 63 – Now and Forever

If you attended public school in the United States, your school conducted monthly fire drills to help you respond in an emergency. The students knew exactly what to do when the buzzer or bell rang. And the staff were trained to follow the directions of the emergency manager.

Fire extinguishers hung on the walls all over the school. In the cafeteria, the kitchen, the hallways, the science lab, and so on.

Now, what if your school never practiced fire drills, and one fine day, you smelled smoke and heard the buzzer? Chaos might ensue. It would be much harder to prevent injuries and to determine who’s in charge and … Wait a minute, how do you work these fire extinguishers, anyway?

The monthly fire drill is an example of what you learn to do without thinking. It’s like the training of athletes and soldiers. You respond automatically and quickly when the situation calls for it, and this training reduces chances for confusion and conflict.

The fire drill is actually a conflict management tool. The key word is management.

Now, even though students know how to behave when the drill sounds, a fire may erupt; you break out the fire extinguisher. That is how we cope with the emergency as it’s happening.

In dealing with conflict we are more likely to succeed, if we use both approaches: coping. That is, the skills and knowledge about how to de-escalate and resolve a conflict as it’s taking place.

And managing. That is, the training of good habits that help us react automatically in the event of an emergency or conflict.

To sum up, effective coping with conflict depends on effective management of conflict. 

If you’re not sure how this applies to your life, please call me at 219-309-3928 for a free consultation. I’d be honored to talk to with you.

Thanks for reading!