Many jobs are stressful and require vigilance and cooperation to achieve various goals. However, stress can build over time, creating a hostile work environment where conflicts are bound to occur. The more stressful the situation, the more likely a conflict will erupt.
Fortunately, de-escalation training can help mitigate this problem by taking a proactive approach to conflict management. While this training is not the same as conflict resolution, it’s an excellent approach for recognizing and mitigating conflicts before they spiral out of control.
But beyond conflict management, what are the other benefits of de-escalation training? Let’s break them down.
What is De-Escalation Training?
De-escalation training is the process of teaching individuals how to assess and manage a tense situation so it doesn’t escalate into a full-blown conflict. However, depending on the circumstances of the incident, this training may be necessary to dial down a conflict that has already erupted.
The core elements of de-escalation include:
- Active Listening – It’s not enough to just hear what someone is saying. Active listening shows that you understand their perspective and are willing to work with them in achieving a specific goal.
- Positive Communication – Conflicts can often be generated or fueled by negative behavior and language. This training helps individuals reframe the situation to be more positive and uplifting. By shifting the focus, it’s easier for everyone involved to de-escalate and work toward a compromise.
- Proactive Conflict Management – Waiting for a conflict to erupt can usually create additional secondary problems (i.e., lawsuits). So, it’s better to identify potential sources of conflict and head them off before they become too unwieldy. This training helps individuals learn how to be proactive about communicating with individuals before they engage with one another.
While these processes and methods are the core foundation of conflict resolution training and de-escalation, the specifics will change from one situation to the next. So, it’s imperative to find trainers who understand the challenges that each trainee faces every day.
For example, a police officer will need unique de-escalation techniques than someone who works in education. Even if the foundation is the same, the tactics have to work well for the trainee’s unique environment.
What are the Positive Impacts of De-Escalation Training
Investing in conflict management can yield a variety of benefits, not just preventing conflicts before they erupt. Some of the most tangible impacts of this training can include:
Miscommunication and a lack of trust can create a lot of problems in the workplace, no matter the situation or environment. Learning how to become an active listener enables trainees to be more proficient in how they communicate with others.
Best of all, if managers or supervisors undergo this training, they can yield some pretty impressive results with their teams. Managers can communicate more effectively and help employees learn how to communicate with each other.
When a team is openly collaborative, it’s much easier to achieve specific goals and objectives. Trainees can learn how to discuss these ideas with others and, more importantly, get those people to sign onto the idea and want it to succeed.
The other benefit of conflict resolution training and de-escalation is that it can alleviate stress before it becomes a more significant issue. As individuals become more irate, trainees can identify the warning signs and intervene sooner rather than later.
Trust is crucial in any relationship, whether it’s between significant others or employees and managers. De-escalation techniques can help build that trust by allowing trainees to create stronger bonds between themselves and their co-workers (or subordinates).
For a trainee to de-escalate a conflict, they need both parties to trust that they have everyone’s best interest at heart. Furthermore, the individual needs to build that trust as quickly as possible, especially if a conflict has already occurred.
So, when these training skills translate to the workplace, it’s much easier to build a trusting, open, and collaborative environment. In this case, everyone is aligned toward the same goals and building a stronger foundation overall.
Conflicts are bad for business and they can create a wide assortment of problems in the workplace. When conflicts are not resolved, they can sow dissent and distrust among employees. These issues can also lead to legal problems or other financial hardships, such as worker comp claims and property damage.
Fortunately, learning de-escalation techniques can help prevent conflicts from arising in the first place. However, it’s imperative to understand that this type of conflict prevention is more progressive and positive. Rather than “quashing” a problem before it starts, trainees will learn how to address the core issue. This way, they can figure out long-term solutions and facilitate a more favorable environment for everyone involved.
Improves Progress and Collaboration
Overall, conflict management training with de-escalation can build a much more robust workforce. When individuals feel seen, heard, and understood, they’re more likely to work as a team toward a common goal.
Although de-escalation methods are not necessarily designed to create open collaboration, this benefit can be a common side effect. Trainees are naturally more likely to step in and facilitate positive communication among employees, and they’re more likely to stimulate new ideas and innovation.
Where Can De-Escalation Training Help?
Technically, all workplaces can benefit from learning de-escalation strategies. However, this type of training can work best for stressful environments where conflicts are far more likely. Some examples can include:
Teachers and school faculty have a tough job that only gets harder with budget cuts and new legislation. While not every school has to worry about serious conflicts, the problem is only becoming more widespread.
De-escalation can help educators by giving them the tools necessary to identify a problem and address it before it worsens. Without this kind of training, teachers are more likely to refer disruptive kids to an administrator or school resource officer (SRO). However, a punishment-first approach can lead to more conflicts and stress within the school.
Social workers are stretched thin and often overworked, meaning that their jobs are hard enough as it is. When you add stressed families and individuals to the mix, conflicts are bound to break out.
Fortunately, when social workers are able to internalize different de-escalation strategies, they’re able to perform their job better. Many of these workers enter the field because they want to make a difference, and these techniques allow them to connect with their clients easier.
As we mentioned, trust is a valuable part of de-escalation, so learning how to build trust quickly makes the entire job much less stressful.
Police and law enforcement officers have a tough job, no matter where they live and work. Making matters worse is the fact that trust in the police is pretty low, particularly in big cities and counties.
That said, de-escalation strategies can go a long way toward rebuilding that trust and creating a more positive image within the community. All too often, law enforcement agencies escalate a situation by adding extra people, equipment, or weapons into the mix. By focusing on de-escalation first, officers can calm the situation before it blows out of control.
Better yet, departments that have already invested in de-escalation are seeing positive results. The goal of law enforcement is to build trust and faith within the community, not to crack down whenever someone breaks the law. These techniques can go a long way toward reducing violence and building a more peaceful environment.
As a rule, customer service reps don’t have to deal with conflicts as severe as those found in schools, law enforcement, or social work. However, irate customers are part of the job, particularly if an employee handles complaints and product issues.
The best part of conflict management training is that reps will learn how to speak to clients and customers more positively. The ability to reframe the conversation and take it in a more positive direction is valuable for everyone involved.
This type of training is valuable for individual employees, managers, and call center workers. The more empowered a worker is with handling conflicts, the less stressful the workplace. Plus, by handling these issues quickly and reliably, customers are more likely to come back, even if they had a negative experience the first time.
Because conflicts can arise in any workplace, it’s imperative to invest in de-escalation strategies at every level. Managers, executives, and even low-level supervisors can benefit from this kind of training.
While individual employees may not need to know how to de-escalate a situation, managers should be able to step in and mitigate or prevent conflicts. This training can help managers create an amicable atmosphere so everyone feels heard and respected.
Why Choose Pollack Peacebuilding Systems?
Investing in conflict management makes sense for many reasons, and the positive impacts of de-escalation speak for themselves. At Pollack Peacebuilding Systems, we take a comprehensive and customized approach to de-escalation. We know that your workplace is unique, so we craft a training strategy to align with your specific goals.
If you’re ready to see how this training can improve your business, contact us today!