I recommend this article to all contact professionals. Whether you are a law enforcement officer, mediator, healthcare professional, politician, or trainer in conflict management/resolution/transformation, you will gain much from this interview with the inimitable author, anthropologist, and negotiation expert, William Ury. Go here for the interview.
William speaks in this interview about the power of the mediator, as witness and catalyst, to be the bridge to help solve deep conflicts between people. Public safety and law enforcement professionals who make use of the Verbal Judo wisdom of Dr. George Thompson and all the quality programs that share a root in his discipline (e.g., Verbal Defense & Influence and Surviving Verbal Conflict) will find great value in this interview with William Ury.
William notes, for instance, that “Showing respect to individuals has a kind of healing power.” The “healing power” in giving others dignity by showing them respect also grants protective power. Any well trained public safety and law enforcement officer should know this. There are many reasons to treat all people with dignity by showing them respect. For the front-line contact professional, it includes the fact that it reduces the chances that someone will want to punch you in the face. Dignity and respect have this power to improve safety, heal old wounds, and help move forward into a brighter future.
As contact professionals (e.g., public safety officers, law enforcement officers, healthcare professionals, politicians, and indeed anyone who works with people) we have a duty to help mediate and resolve the crisis in front of us at the moment. We also, however, have a duty to not sew the seeds for any future crisis.
Let us expand our vision and use of our front-line conflict resolution skills to help build a better world. We can simultaneously improve safety and work for societal and global peace.