In the field of school transportation, conflict is commonplace. Regardless of whether it exists between employees, students or parents, conflict can create a major obstacle to student safety. Here are some tips for keeping tensions low:
1. Take a deep breath; stay relaxed.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Speak softly but determinedly.
4. Keep your legs and arms uncrossed. Do not clench your fists.
5. Remind yourself that there is always a win-win resolution, and remind the conflicting parties too.
6. If necessary, take or provide a break for the collection of thoughts and release of pent-up frustration.
7. Paraphrase what the conflicting parties have said and ask for clarification.
8. Watch your language. Words that escalate conflicts are never, always, unless, can’t and won’t. Words that de-escalate are maybe, perhaps, what if, it seems like, I feel, I think and I wonder.
9. Listen to everything.
10. Affirm and acknowledge the positions of all involved parties.
11. Ask open-ended questions that encourage the search for a solution.
12. Always look for alternative ideas to resolve disputes.
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