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Is The Conflict Specialist A Leader?

by Jeff Thompson
September 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson
Ran Kuttner- Parallel to the emergence of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a field, in the last few decades there is a growing body of literature on “Leadership” as a separate field with a set of skills and traits that can be taught. This is not the only resemblance to the ADR field; themes advanced in leadership literature and trainings have a lot in common with those advanced in ADR:

1. The shift away from hierarchical structures
2. Globalization and the understanding of human interconnectedness,
3. Giving priority to communication and collaboration rather than placing the individual who pursues to advance his own understanding of the preferred outcomes.
4. The importance of collaborative problem-solving, the ability to suspend judgment and appreciate diverse views, the constructive role of conflict, teambuilding, consensus-building, etc.
5. The understanding of the leader and the conflict specialist as supporters, setting the conditions for others to thrive.

Leaders are encouraged to implement skills that are in many cases akin to those advanced by conflict specialists. Much has been written in the ADR literature on the intersection of management skills and conflict resolutions skills, exploring how the ideas and tools taught and implemented by the conflict specialist can assist managers in their work...
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Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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