There are five primary responses to conflict. All of us use all five of them in different contexts and for different reasons. Our politicians, however, use a particular response to conflict as their dominant response to disagreements, in political campaigns, and during legislative debates. It is this response, which they use so ubiquitously and so carelessly, that leads to disrespectful conversations and fruitless debates in our Congress. And, our legal system – which imbues so much of our country’s culture – utilizes the same response. Can you guess what it is?
Laura C. Smythe, Executive Director of the Mediation Center of Greater Green Bay, is an attorney, mediator and professor. She has mediated thousands of conflicts and she also teaches graduate students about conflict resolution and organizational cultures. She serves on the National Board of Directors of National Association for Community Mediation which supports over 400 community mediation centers across the country and in 2014 she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Dispute Resolution Section of the Wisconsin State Bar. Laura also serves, at the request of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on a District Committee for the Office of Lawyer Regulation.