We Need Conflict Resolution Training!
If you were the hiring manager, wouldn't you prefer people, all things being equal, who have conflict resolution skills rather than people who might not have the skills to deal with disagreements productively, who lack the resilience to recover from not always getting their way, and who can think creatively and without bias? I certainly would.
You don't have to look for degrees in conflict resolution to find people with these skills (even though I teach in one of these programs and recommend them) -- just look for people with mediation training from a Peer Mediation Program or a Community Dispute Resolution Center.
Anyone can get training at a community dispute resolution center. The training focuses on finding out what really is causing the conflict, what is important to finding a resolution, and perhaps most important, how to say the things that matter to reach resolution.
Peer Mediation Programs are for students from elementary school through high school, and they have an outsized impact for their size and investment. Becoming a peer mediator also increases students' self-esteem, reduces school conflict, and creates a leadership group that takes these skills into college or work or home.
The sooner we start teaching people these skills, the more time they have to hone them and use them, the better-equipped they are for workplace success, and the more thoughtful and empathetic they are in all exchanges -- at work, at home, and in the community.
If we can teach everyone conflict resolution skills maybe we can find ways to resolve disagreements before they escalate to unacceptable behaviors at work, before they drive families apart, and before they escalate to violence. It's clear we have to start somewhere, and the violence we have all witnessed recently, demands that we work on starting early. I'm not discounting the other efforts that need to be made, and I have no delusions that training will solve all our problems, but why don't we start with something that has a proven track record of success?
For info go to www.scmaedfoundation.org and find out about peer mediation and community dispute resolution centers.