Category: Personal Safety

Assertive Courtesy: A 21st Century Technique for Managing Conflict

I’m sure at some stage in our lives, we’ve all been told that we need to “stand up for ourselves” and not let anyone push us around. Likewise, we’ve all likely been told to be polite, choose our battles or “go with the flow.” In the field of verbal self-defence (alternatively called conflict management, verbal de-escalation, tactical communication, or any other buzz word that suits you) there is an ongoing dichotomy between two of the most common pieces of general advice offered.

1)   Treat the other party with respect

2)   Don’t be too soft! Set your boundaries!

So which is it? Should we be telling everyone to “STOP RIGHT THERE! LEAVE ME ALONE!” or should we apologise for the inconvenience of our presence? Clearly, neither is appropriate in every situation and a middle ground should be established. This article is about that middle ground and how we can use it as a foundation stone of our modern approach to conflict management. read more

Developing your intuition in a world of distraction

Intuition is an interesting concept. It’s something nearly all of us acknowledge the existence of. If you’re a spiritual person you might call it psychic, or a word from God, energy of the universe, etcetera. If you’re more of a scientifically minded sceptic, you might explain it through the lens of the reticular activating system or subliminal information gathering.

Whatever you want to call it, we all experience it the same way. A gut feeling. A pull. A “knowing” without knowing why. It’s like having the answer to a math problem without being able to show your working. It feels good, but also disconcerting. Like being right isn’t as valid if you don’t know why you were right.

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Decision Making, Risk and Your Three Lives, Pt. 2: It’s NOT as Complicated as You Think

We all play different roles at different times – parent, friend, employee, leader, employer, manager, partner, spouse, etc. But separating these is becoming harder and harder with technological advancement and globalisation. More and more, the lines between the three aspects of life – work, personal and virtual – are blurring, and even more so with remote work being the standard during the COVID crisis.

Here is where this gets interesting.

Expecting people to have vastly different quality between their personal decision making and work decision-making is naive, and dangerous.

To rephrase – how can we expect people to regularly make great decisions at work, if they regularly make poor decisions in their personal or online life?

Here is an example that may resonate with many of you during COVID 19:

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Decision-Making, Risk and Your Three Lives

Risk can be defined as the effect of uncertainty on possible outcomes. This means every decision, at every level of the organisation, has some level of risk to it. Effective decision-making lies at the heart of managing risk. And managing risk, now more than ever, is the responsibility of every individual within an organisation.

 

Unfortunately, traditional risk management approaches and systems are often ineffective when it comes to getting individuals to make good decisions. Read more to find out why!

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7 Mistakes Organisations Make When Tackling Customer Aggression

I’ve been working around customer aggression and workplace violence for close to 15 years now. In that time, I’ve worked amongst a variety of industries including, but not limited to:

  • Hospitality and liquor retail
  • Private security
  • Hotel and resort industry
  • Hospitals and healthcare
  • Human services and community support roles
  • Travel and aviation
  • Funeral industry
  • Service stations and late-night retail
  • Fast food
  • Banking
  • Utilities
  • Government service centres
  • Local council functions (parking, waste management, etc.)

All of these industries have had their own issues with customer aggression and workplace violence. Whether we like to admit it or not, when we put our people into customer-facing roles, we expose them to the risk of aggression. In roles where they will occasionally either give someone unwanted news or deal with alcohol and/or drug affected persons, that risk is magnified.

To their credit, I haven’t had a single client or employer who simply didn’t care about their staff being abused or assaulted at work. Everyone I spoke to agreed that not feeling safe at work wasn’t acceptable. They had all, to some degree, implemented treatments to control that risk.

So why wasn’t it working?

After 15 years of researching and working in this field, these are the most common mistakes I’ve found well-intentioned organisations making.

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Keeping Families Safe this Halloween by Ron Amram

Halloween can be a great opportunity for kids and parents to have a wonderful time together.

Dressing in a costume, going trick-or-treating with family and friends, and let’s not forget what it’s all really about – candy!

At the same time a child travelling alone, after dark, in an unfamiliar environment and in a restrictive outfit increases the risk of bad things happening.

From that we can see there are a few different types of dangers and risks that we should be aware of:

  1. Dangers relating to costumes
  2. Dangers relating to kids travelling alone, especially after dark
  3. Dangers relating to healthy eating

Here are some tips to help you manage these risks:

Dangers Relating to Costumes:

  1. Restrictive costumes: Your kids are likely to have to cross the road a few times, and may be slow due to wearing a cumbersome or heavy costume. Make sure that your child’s costume doesn’t excessively restrict their view. This will make sure their situational awareness is not hindered and will make sure they can see oncoming traffic, as well as other dangers. The same thing applies to costumes that are extremely restrictive on breathing. If your child does wear a mask that is restrictive or view and/or breathing, ask them to remove it before crossing the road, or even only putting it on before knocking on the door to trick or treat.
  2. Fire and Catching Dangers: While it’s impossible to make costumes completely fire-proof, you should try and minimise loose odds and ends that may get stuck, snagged or catch fire easily.

Dangers Relating to Kids Travelling Alone:

Depending on age group, you may or may not be joining your kids. If you do not, keep the following in mind:

  1. Plan ahead: Plan your child’s route with them, so that you know exactly where they are or might be, and roughly how long it will take them to complete the route. It is a good idea to walk through it with them before Halloween so they are familiar with the route and know the street names and recognise the environment.
  2. Stranger Danger: Instruct your child never to enter homes when trick-or-treating; If the person invites the in, they should politely refuse. If the person insists, they should refuse and leave quickly.
  3. Safety in Numbers: Your child should go with a group of friends.
  4. Adult Supervision: Depending on age group, there may be an adult accompanying a group of kids. Make sure you have their contact details. It’s also wise to know how many kids may be joining the group to make sure there is sufficient supervision.

Dangers Relating to Healthy Eating:

Let’s get down to business. You kid’s probably going to come home with an excess of sugary treats, and may want to eat as many of them as possible as soon as they arrive home. Here are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

  1. If you child has any food allergies, make sure that you ask them not to eat anything they haven’t eaten before and know is safe before getting home. If they are going with a group and there is adult supervision, inform the adult supervisor of their allergies.
  2. While it’s important to let kids enjoy their bounty, it’s also important to try and moderate how much they are having. This can be a great opportunity to teach them about sharing and saving for another day, without taking away from the excitement of rummaging through their bounty. It’s also a good opportunity to emphasise the fun of creating and getting into a costume, and spending quality time with family and friends. Make the focus about the experience and hopefully rationing chocolate will be a bit easier!

Don’t let this great holiday turn into a scary story! With a little planning, you can make sure that this Halloween is the best one yet for you and your kids.