Balancing Passion And Reason

While each situation requires its own unique intervention (fellows, other attendees, the police), the key concept is similar to fire-fighting: removing the “fuel” by reducing the emotional component substantially reduces the fire’s intensity and duration. Sometimes this happens on its own. A quick flash of emotion runs out of fuel instantly, leaving only singed eyebrows rather than seared flesh. For more serious occasions, though, emotion can be lowered by intentionally increasing rationality, i.e., inducing calmness by injecting thinking.

Fortunately, many managers have expert professionals already at hand; human-resource management departments commonly employ trained conflict-resolution personnel, and police departments have skilled crisis-intervention specialists. Scheduling one or more all-agency training sessions featuring representatives from these allies before the next public meeting is a proactive measure that will keep fight night where it belongs–with the pros on cable TV.

Works cited

The New York Times (1909, April, 05). Retrieved March 11, 2009 from

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf

r=1&res=9401E0DA1131E733A25756C0A9629C946897D6CF

YouTube – Detroit City Council Fight. Retrieved March 11, 2009 from

www.youtube.com/watch?v=apKTs1Hl6Kw

City Council Cat Fight Video. Retrieved March 11, 2009 from

www.break.com/index/city_council_catfight.html

Kim S. Uhlik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management at San Jose State University. He can be reached via e-mail at kuhlik@casa.sjsu.edu.

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