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How To Handle Conflict - Life Guarding - Supervising

Whether your a Life Guard, a Duty Manager or a Swim Teaching supervisor, sooner or later you are going to have to know how to handle conflict.

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It Doesn't Make Sense That You Have To Know How To Hand Conflict

You're going to come into conflict with somebody who doesn't want to comply with the safety rules. It doesn't make sense but it will happen. And no matter how in control you are, even the best of us find ourselves frustrated and sometimes very upset by those who think they know better than you and just refuse to comply.

I know I am far from alone when I say that I have been abused for asking parents to put away their phones and concentrate on supervising their child when they are not in class. I have even been abused for saving a child.

Image of man Yelling through a megaphone at a woman: how to handle conflict
How To Handle Conflict

Over the years I have developed all sorts of different approaches for a large variety of different scenarios that work most of the time. Still there is always that one person who just will not see reason.

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Life Guards Verbal Judo

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I've even had one person essentially throw themselves out of the centre. It was crazy: I was trying to explain the rules about children under 5 years old, wearing wrist bands so that it is easy to identify those most at risk and easy to see the carers that are doing the right thing.

Even after I had given my best explanation, the customer said, "so you don't have a good reason"? To which I replied "well I think I have given several good reasons" and reiterated my explanation.

"That's not good enough," he said, "what are you going to do if I refuse, throw me out?"

I replied that I do have that right.

He then said, "right we are going" and promptly grabbed his wife and children and left.

Despite my amusement at him throwing himself out I was left with the same thoughts that all good supervisors are left within such situations: I wonder if I could have handled that better.

To that end, I am always on the lookout for new ways on how to handle conflict.

One of my other passions is Judo and in my role as Judo instructor I have always been drawn to the idea of "Verbal Judo". After viewing the following video by the author of the book, I realized in the above case there was at least one more step that I could have tried.

I hope you find this video as useful as I do and see if you can figure out my missing step.


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