Taming the Tiger conference allows non-professionals to improve conflict management

By Janel Shoun on 2/15/2011

  
  

 

The Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management’s (ICM) second Southeastern Conflict Management Conference, Friday, Feb. 25, offers an exceptional opportunity for professionals in a variety of industries and organizations to obtain a one-day primer in the methods of conflict management.
 
Keynote Speaker
Tammy Lenski
The conference, themed “Taming the Tiger: Finding Success Through Conflict,” is specifically designed to reach out beyond the traditional audience for conflict management – lawyers and professional mediators – and show leaders in education, business, faith groups and community-based organizations how conflict management methods can help them improve outcomes and bottom lines.
 
The Southeastern Conflict Management Conference will take place Friday, Feb. 25, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $125 or $99 for employees of governmental and non-profit organizations. Registration is available at http://icm.lipscomb.edu.
 
Conference seminars include Facilitating Public Policy, Managing Conflict in a Faith Setting, Facilitating Dynamic Groups, Workplace Strategies for Conflict Management and Negotiating Individual Education Plans.
 
Keynote speaker is Tammy Lenski, Ed.D, founder and principal of Tammy Lenski LLC, a conflict resolution firm serving organizations, groups and individuals worldwide.
 
“When the institute was established back in 2006, the vision was to create a community-based graduate program that would reach out beyond the traditional realm of conflict resolution training – law schools,” said Steve Joiner, managing director of the ICM. “After almost five years of working in Nashville and throughout the region, we have determined that education, human resources offices and faith-based groups are really the front lines in the fight against conflict in our society.
 
“So we designed ‘Taming the Tiger’ to be accessible and valuable to professionals who see their need for conflict resolution skills increasing, no matter what profession they are in,” he said.
 
Drawing from the institute’s experience providing anti-bullying training in Nashville public schools; training state employees, city policemen and state judges; gathering diverse groups from health care, the faith community and nonprofit organizations to discuss solutions to current challenges, ICM officials created an all-day program with tracks built in for educators, businesspeople, therapists and counselors, faith-based leaders and community leaders.
 
“The power of conflict management techniques lies in the transferability across many disciplines,” said Larry Bridgesmith, senior fellow and founding executive director of ICM.  “We expect to have clergy, human resource professionals, public policy specialists, educators and executives from for-profit and non-profit sectors present.  This conference provides something of value for everyone to apply immediately.”
 
Tracy Allen teaches a course
at the ICM.
So far, seminars highlighting interpersonal conflict and the neuroscience of conflict have been the most popular among those registered, said Beth Morrow, ICM assistant director. Human resources professionals have been particularly attracted to the conference so far, she said.
 
“If you talk to almost any HR professional, a majority of their job is dealing with conflict, primarily interpersonal conflict having to do with the allocation of resources in the organization,” said Allison Duke, director of Lipscomb’s Master of Human Resources (MHR) program. “From a people perspective, any HR professional could benefit from learning the best method to use to deal with different types of conflict they encounter almost daily.”
 
According to members of the Society of Human Resource Management, conflict within the workplace has increased in the past few years as many employees find themselves working with fewer resources, struggling with survivor’s guilt when co-workers are laid off and worrying that they may also be laid off at any time.
 
In fact, the inclusion of conflict management training within Lipscomb’s HR program has proven to be one of the most popular aspects of the program, Duke said.
 
Laurie Kush, volunteer services coordinator for Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks, said the conflict management training included in the program was the slam dunk factor to convince her to enroll in Lipscomb’s MHR. Kush is also one of many HR professionals signed up to attend “Taming the Tiger.”
 
“One of the things that interested me about this program was the combination of learning to work more efficiently and collaboratively with the community while also being able to prove the financial benefit,” she said.
 
Kush works with many boomer-age volunteers at Vanderbilt and said the multi-generational aspect of today’s workplace, including strong differences in communication styles, certainly heightens tensions and the need for problem-solving by HR managers.