ICM brings its nationally known program to Middle Tennessee Girl Scout leaders

By Janel Shoun on 3/27/2012

  
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On March 24, the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) brought the same conflict resolution concepts it has taught to state judges, city officials, hospital administrators and businesspeople to the troop leaders of the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.

The institute trained a select group of Girl Scout staff, troop leaders and parents in a one-day session in Lipscomb’s Ezell Center, while next door young Girl Scouts earned the Win-Win negotiation patch in a training session conducted by Nashville’s Lawyers’ Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter (LAW).

While the Girl Scouts learned negotiation tactics to use in their everyday family life, dealing with issues like “who gets the remote” and “can I go to a slumber party this weekend,” the adults learned about the five approaches to conflict, using simulations and exercises designed to incorporate the dynamics of a troop meeting or a camping trip.

For some decades, conflict management research has reported that women not only negotiate less than men – resulting in lower salaries – but they also tend to use more harmonizing and accommodation strategies to deal with conflict while men use more competitive strategies, said Phyllis Hildreth, academic director of the ICM.

Hildreth, who chalked up almost 25 years in law, public advocacy and public and private negotiation before coming to the ICM, not only feels that women today may be more competitive negotiators than some researchers would expect, but also that the difference between men’s and women’s conflict management styles can be washed away if everyone has the same negotiating tools.

“If both men and women are taught that all five styles of conflict resolution – avoidance, harmonizing, compromise, competition and collaboration – are useful, effective and appropriate in different settings, then we can all be more effective,” said Hildreth, who is also on the board of Girl Scouts for Middle Tennessee. “Any organization benefits from building a team that knows how to speak the same language and use the same tools. We are proud that the Girl Scouts are willing to be leaders in this area.”

“We continue to be thrilled with new partnership opportunities that are developing with Lipscomb University,” says Agenia Clark, president and CEO of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.  “This program brings a new, valuable skill to troop leaders and all women in the region.  Our volunteers are eager to know when the program will be offered again!”Clark also serves on the leadership council of Lipscomb’s Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership.

For the past two years, Margaret M. Huff, owner of Margaret Huff Mediation and a long-time collaborator with the ICM, has worked with other volunteers from the Lawyers’ Association for Women to hold the Girl Scout Win-Win negotiation patch training in Middle Tennessee. On March 24 girls learned the meaning of negotiation, how to think about what they really want, to effectively present support for a position and to weigh pros and cons, among other skills.

After learning about how women’s failure to effectively negotiate salaries has contributed to the gender salary gap, Huff wanted to bring the program to local girls “to help them grow up confident in their ability to negotiate,” she said. “The skills they learn will help them now when negotiating weekend plans with a parent and down the road when negotiating a salary for their first job. Research shows that women do not receive comparable salaries in the workplace, and in some cases, they would receive higher salaries if they were more confident in negotiating.”

The ICM’s trainings for the Girl Scout leaders and staff applied the same interactive games, role playing and relatable scenarios that the institute has used to train family mediators, judges, community mediators, corporate executives, elected officials and religious groups all over the region.

“With this being the 100 year anniversary of the Girl Scouts, we are doubly excited to be a part of helping the next generation of women to grab hold of every opportunity they can,” said Steve Joiner, managing director of the ICM. “Girls today are growing up to be smart, ambitious women who should have all the tools they need to make a difference in the next 100 years.”

Earlier this year, Lipscomb announced a new Scout Award in 2012, a $10,000 scholarship for any incoming freshman who is accepted to Lipscomb University and has received the Girl Scouts of America’s Gold Award.

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About Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management

Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) provides academic and business specific resources to equip students, organizations and professionals with skills to minimize the costs of unresolved conflict. Growing out of the internationally recognized dispute resolution work of Professor L Randolph Lowry, Lipscomb University President, the ICM provides degrees, certificates, seminars and research dedicated to the advancement of conflict management disciplines.

About the Lawyers’ Association for Women (LAW)

The Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter was formed on February 24, 1981, in Nashville, Tennessee. The association emphasizes and addresses issues of concern to women within the legal profession.  For more information go to http://www.law-nashville.org/home.cfm.