A dramatic example of the critical need for conflict de-escalation training is demonstrated in this incident from this past April in Charlotte, NC. Take a moment to see for yourself – Click here

This video shows the lost of self control by the security guard, who then made a choice that could have had a horrific ending.  Good job by his partners who kept him from hurting anyone.  Being able to successfully de-escalate a situation absolutely REQUIRES self awareness and self discipline to stay calm and in control of your senses, basically first de-escalate yourself!

It is very evident that the security guard has lost all control, to the point that he even began to draw his weapon on a person where no threat of physical violence was evident or demonstrated.  A WHOLE lot of questions arise out of this situation, and one of the options being considered for this security guard is that he take “the whole armed guard” training program (updated news article here).  So it makes you wonder if in fact you can take a partial class and then be paid to walk around as an armed security guard??  But I feel that this man should not be near any weapon, because no matter how many hours of training he has, if his MINDSET and heart are wrong, he will continue to make wrong choices and make bad decisions.

The self awareness is for recognizing that you are getting ramped up, upset, frustrated, impatient, jacked up, and so on.  The self discipline is when you either start breathing exercises to calm down, or walk away, or listen to your partners who are trying to save you from yourself.  I teach my classes that the longer you are in a stressful situation, the higher probability that you are going to end up saying or doing something that will escalate the situation.  If you lose self control, I can pretty much guarantee that you will lose control of the situation.  Taking a good conflict de-escalation training seminar that is much more than just a lecture presentation or an online training video is critical.  This is why in my de-escalation training program I have instructor/role players, most of whom are former or current law enforcement officers, give a student real time feedback as to what was done right and what can be tweaked and done differently in the future.

For example, during the critique phase in my de-escalation training program my instructor/role player may say – “John, you did great in this scenario with your tone of voice and your reactionary gap, but did you know you have a tendency to smirk?” –  Without that feedback, John could go through life always getting into situations that go sideways and never realize it is HIM that is the problem because his smirking is escalating the situation!  You can have all the book knowledge in the world about what to do or say during an interpersonl conflict situation, but without having the self awareness of what YOU may be doing with your body language, it will be for nothing.

Another example of inadvertently doing something that may escalate a situation is standing there with your arms crossed while interacting with someone who is agitated.  Normally, standing there with your arms crossed is a very comfortable position and posture to assume, but depending on the situation and the person you are interacting with, you may come across as closed off, indifferent, uncaring, defensive and even hostile.  All those things could escalate a situation.  You can not, and will not, get all that invaluable feedback from must sitting through a de-escalation training lecture presentation or from just watching a de-escalation training video online.

I have no idea what happened in the moments before the cell phone was activated to start recording the situation with the security guard, but it is most likely very fair to say that the man taunting the security guard was doing only that, just standing there and talking crap to look tough in front of his buddies.  There is a tendency for people in positions of authority, such as security guards, to feel very offended when they feel their authority is being challenged or questioned.  Even parents get offended when they feel their children are ignoring them and disrespecting their authority as the parent.  Normal feelings.  But a security guard has to have self control, and keep their own emotions and feelings in check when on the job representing their business and client.

I know that a large number of private security firms, as do other businesses and corporations, have an online de-escalation training video for their personnel to watch.  The personnel then answer a number of questions, and depending on the answers they get right, they can print out their own certificate of completion.  Congratulations, these people are now trained on de-escalation.  It is very possible this security took an online de-escalation training class and even scored 100% on the test.  He may even have the self printed certificate to prove it.

Do you really want to risk explaining to the judge and jury, and maybe to the media, that the extent of the de-escalation training you provided your personnel was just a lecture presentation, or just an online video?

More articles can be found here on Conflict De-escalation tips and comments

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