• Learn from this!

I haven’t tested myself in a long while, so thought to join my students in providing appropriate yet substantive answers to the following questions.

1. Know how communication can be used to solve problems and reduce the likelihood of conflict

1.1 State the importance of positive communication as a way of reducing the likelihood of conflict

The importance of positive communication is a critical element of conflict management and requires you communicate in a way that is clear, professional, polite and fair; with consistency and awareness of cultural needs and preferences and definitely avoid the use of jargon/slang.

Positive communication builds a rapport and encourages similar behaviour in customers.

1.2 Identify how managing customer expectations can reduce the likelihood of conflict

Difficulties can be caused if customers have unrealistic expectations and start making demands such as how long they may need to wait in which case being ready and capable of providing information can help manage customer expectations which could include things like:

  • how long they may need to wait

  • explanations of company policy

  • stating your own expectations

  • clarity of information provided

  • procedure for resolution

  • timescales for resolution.

1.3 Identify the differences between assertiveness and aggression

The characteristics of assertive behaviour are being firm but fair, remaining calm, appearing confident, politeness, whereas the characteristics of aggressive behaviour are hostile words, threatening tone/gestures, confrontational attitude.

1.4 State the importance of viewing a situation from the customer’s perspective

Viewing a situation from a customer’s perspective is to show empathy. The value of empathy in this case is about preventing conflict, helping to defuse conflict, understanding a conflict situation better, building a rapport, informing resolutions/appropriate responses.

1.5 Identify strategies that can be used to solve problems

A problem-solving model to resolve situations by building rapport, finding common ground, agreeing a way forward is one of the negotiation strategies that can be used to help solve problems.

This would be in the form of a SOP devised by your employer or the venue manager and will include things such as:

  • stating expectations

  • giving reasons

  • offering alternatives

  • applying pressure

  • offering incentives

  • compromising

The concept and benefit of a win-win approach, such as an agreement of resolution/timescales and agreeing methods/frequency/timescales of communication will go a long way in avoiding conflict altogether...

2. Know the factors that influence human responses in conflict situations

2.1 Identify human responses to emotional or threatening situations

The common responses would be fear, anger or aggression which could result in a fight, flight or freeze situation often exacerbated by the physical effects of adrenalin on the body leading to a challenging or not listening state of mind indicated by the raising of one’s voice, even screaming.

2.2 Identify factors that can trigger an angry response in others

Common triggers are:

  • embarrassment

  • not being taken seriously

  • not being listened to

  • agreements not being adhered to

  • being belittled

  • feeling threatened

  • frustration

  • poor communication skills

  • limited understanding

  • English as a second language

  • physical discomfort.

Factors that can increase likelihood of triggering an angry response are:

  • intoxication

  • stress

  • personality

  • medical conditions.

2.3 Identify factors that can inhibit an angry response in others

Factors that can inhibit an angry response in others would most likely be things like self-control; personal values; cultural values; peer pressure; previous experience; fear of confrontations; lack of confidence; fear of retaliation; fear of legal consequences, fear of loss of job or other respected social role.

3. Know how to assess and reduce risks in conflict situations

3.1 Identify the stages of escalation in conflict situations

To better understand the attitude-behaviour cycle we need to look at the conflict escalation model first; how threat levels can escalate in a confrontation and the stages of escalation where frustration leads to anger, then aggression and possibly violence. This is clearly illustrated in the following diagrams.

3.2 State how to apply dynamic risk assessment to a conflict situation

A dynamic risk assessment to a conflict situation would necessitate the following stages in sequence:

  • assess the threat posed by persons, places and objects

  • evaluate available options

  • respond with best option

  • continuously monitor for changes to situation.

For your own safety it is important that you take into account the reactionary gap (space between you and the other person); early warning signs of potential aggression (breathing, non-verbal signals) as well as the danger signs of imminent anger and aggression by way of:

  • language

  • non-verbal signals

  • personal space

  • actual and potential weapons.

You will certainly need to be ready to adapt your response depending on risk (respond verbally, take action, retreat, seek advice/help).

3.3 State the importance of following employer policies and guidance in conflict situations

Vicarious liability is the first thought that comes to mind. Vicarious liability is a form of a strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency, respondeat superior, the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the "right, ability or duty to control" the activities of a violator.

In this case, following employer policies and guidance in conflict situations is extremely important as the employer must ensure a way of reducing risk of litigation and harm to self/others by providing you with information about roles/responsibilities/limitations of responsibilities and guidance in relation to courses of action. This could be in the form of what we call SOPs (Standard Operational Procedures).

4. Know how to communicate effectively and de-escalate conflict in emotive situations

4.1 Identify how to use non-verbal communication in emotive situations

To signal non-aggression through non-verbal communication would require that you are ensure spatial awareness and positioning while at the same time presenting a non-threatening posture; and at the same time being conscious of your facial expression and hand gestures.

This applies equally to the other person and why spatial awareness and positioning is so important for your own safety.

4.2 Identify how to overcome communication barriers in emotive situations

Having the right temperament and the right attitude would help including:

  • The ability to recognise that a communication barrier exists; types of communication barrier (physical, attitudinal, linguistic); use of active listening to facilitate understanding.

  • Knowing how to overcome physical barriers: by moving to a quieter location, by ensuring adequate lighting, by appropriate positioning, by ensuring adequate space.

  • Knowing how to overcome attitudinal barriers: by being assertive, by reacting appropriately in response to customer’s attitude.

  • Knowing how to overcome linguistic barriers: by rephrasing and repeating message, by slowing speech, by use of gestures, by use of intermediaries, use of augmentative or alternative approaches.

4.3 Identify ways of defusing emotive conflict situations

Developing non-aggressive, yet assertive use of non-verbal communication (facial expression, gestures, movements) to signal non-aggression; maintaining self-control; being polite and positive; showing empathy and understanding with active listening and feedback would be the foremost and being ready to request support/guidance or agreeing next steps/timelines when things to do go as expected.

4.4 Identify how to work with colleagues to de-escalate conflict situations

Working on the frontline can be quite precarious sometimes and there is always the chance that you or a colleague will engage with someone who is totally irrational and unwilling to accept any intervention or direction, hence the value in a confrontation of handing over to, or taking control from a colleague in fulfilling the roles/responsibilities when enforcing boundaries; agreeing next steps; reaffirming solutions/resolutions cannot be underrated.

4.5 State the importance of providing exit routes and space when dealing with an angry person

No one like to lose, especially in front of peers, so the importance of leaving potential aggressors with an exit route to allow for a “non-negative” withdrawal from the situation is just as important as having your own exit route available in case of physical attack.

The importance of providing space between you and an angry person who may feel threatened and become more aggressive in a confined space is not to be underestimated.

5 Know good practice to follow after conflict situations

5.1 State the importance of accessing help and support following an incident

Stress and emotional upset will almost always follow an encounter, especially one that has the potential to become violent, so the value of accessing help and support which includes reassurance and dealing with shock immediately or soon thereafter is an important factor for both employer and employed to managing absence and help with returning to work.

5.2 Identify the benefits of reflecting on and learning from conflict situations

Equally important is the value of reflecting and learning from conflict (recognising trends, being able to respond better in future, identifying preventative measures); monitoring; support; areas of strength/weakness; evaluation of approaches used; review of roles/responsibilities/policies and procedures.

5.3 Identify the benefits of sharing good practice and contributing to solutions to recurring problems

The benefits of being able to find common approaches and influence procedures will improve the company profile and adoption of alternative approaches will ensure a safer working environment for staff and customers, reduced stress; better customer experience; expansion of customer/service user base; consistent approach; reduction in claims and litigation.


Updated: Aug 14, 2019

When putting your Risk Assessment and Threat Analysis together, you will need to put some thought into the Global Threat to Human Security and the Security Dilemma that everyone faces.

Another thing I’ve learnt over the years is that the world can be a scary place. There are many things we come into contact with that can cause us harm. Just think of all the things you do on a daily basis to keep yourself safe. You may wear a helmet while riding your bike or a seatbelt while driving your car. Many homes are even outfitted with security systems to keep out intruders. Airports also make you go through many levels of security to keep you and other passengers safe while traveling.

All of these safety measures are important because people are coming into contact with one another more frequently than in the past. New technology, communication, and the emergence of more independent states has allowed human activity to become intertwined worldwide.

While this global contact is in large part positive, it does bring with it a darker side. A complex environment has evolved where in addition to all of the good things globalization brings with it there are also serious threats to human security, such as terrorism and violent crime.

You will need to consider the Threat of Terrorism in your Threat Analysis

Let's take the example of getting a security system to protect you, your family, and your personal property. Unfortunately, as we come into contact with more people because of the advances in communication and travel, there becomes the potential of other people who want to claim your stuff for their own.

This is a scary threat indeed and, thus, there is the need for the security system. Now imagine this threat on a global scale. The violence and threat of violence that accompanied the emergence of modern states led to the pervasive emphasis on military power as the highest priority of states. The fear of losing territory or being eliminated was very real.

As this fear spread, there emerged a security dilemma. The security dilemma, also referred to as the spiral model, refers to a situation in which actions by a state intended to heighten its security and keep its citizens and property safe, either by increasing its military strength or making alliances, can lead other states to respond with similar measures.

Thus, as each state increases its military strength or makes alliances with other countries, tensions and the risk of conflict greatly increase. States try to produce a global image of strength and security, but this can be interpreted as aggression by others, even though no side desires the wish to be drawn into using military force. Increased security, however, also comes with a price and may actually lead to the increase of more crime. While a person's life and property may be made safer, governments have been of the mindset that in order for that to happen, short-term restrictions on civil and political rights are essential.

Thus, many governments find themselves on a slippery slope that leads to more durable infringements on democratic freedoms. These infringements can lead to the creation of terrorism. While there is no universal definition of what terrorism is or what a terrorist looks like, there are some qualities that all acts of terrorism have in common.

First, all acts of terrorism are designed to create fear. Terrorists seek to frighten people in distant places in order to exert pressure on governments. Terrorism is essentially a form of psychological warfare that can last for generations. It's also common that terrorist acts are closely associated with ideology and the increase of globalization. Globalization is a major factor in global terrorism.

In many ways, terrorism is a product of resistance to change brought about by cultural, economic, political, military, and even environmental globalization. One such example is what is going on in Hong Kong right now.

You will also need to take into account the Rise of Violent Crime

This rise of globalization has not only created the formation of highly organized terrorist groups, it has also led to the rise of violent crime. While the security dilemma attempts to address threats from outside sources, such as another country's military, it doesn't do a strong job at addressing crime from within its own borders. For instance, it doesn't address other factors that may lead to the increase of crime.

For example, poverty increases, and population increases are two factors that increase the likelihood of violent crime. As poor individuals are packed into cramped urban areas, feelings of hopelessness increase and become a breeding ground for crime because it is seen as the only way to survive. Also, ethnic conflict and civil wars, combined with easy access to guns, provide fertile grounds for gang violence to flourish as well.

When considering the Global Response to Crime; on the whole, many countries are ill equipped to effectively respond to global criminal activities. Few governments have the resources to effectively control global crime, especially in light of reduced government budgets for public services.

Furthermore, divergent views among countries about crime and different priorities render effective collaboration among states difficult to achieve. Despite this grim view of global security, there are some things that the global community has done to try and combat crime.

The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, is a global clearinghouse for police information based in France. Interpol collects and analyses data, supports global crime investigations, organizes operational working meetings among countries, and organizes regional and global conferences on a wide range of criminal activities.

There is also the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which is a global agreement between many countries aimed at reducing crime through global cooperation.


New technology, communication, and the emergence of more independent states has allowed human activity to become intertwined worldwide. While this global contact is in large part positive, it does bring with it a darker side. The increase of globalization has created a security dilemma among nation states in an attempt to create a global image of strength and security.

However, the increase of security often comes with trade-offs, such as personal liberties, which can lead to the rise of terrorism. The increase of security also does little to address things such as poverty and population increases, which often result in the rise of violent crime.

The increase of state security is a complex issue and while it may have the unintended consequence at creating crime, organizations, such as Interpol or the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, have attempted to try and battle crime on a global scale.

(Sourced from lessons delivered by Jason Nowaczyk who is a social studies teacher)


Updated: Aug 17, 2019

One thing that I have learnt over the years is that what troubles people most in today’s world and surrounding modern day conflicts appears to be the distortion of monotheism and hatred more than anything else.

So I decided that this lesson’s objective should be to simply define monotheism and summarize the beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam without any distortion (the action of giving a misleading account or impression) so that when preparing a risk assessment where religion is a factor, students should concentrate on radical beliefs rather than association (a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations).

There is no explaining hatred as that is an unfathomable and irrational emotion especially when it invokes feelings of animosity, anger, or resentment, which can be directed against certain individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviours, concepts, or ideas.

Monotheism is belief in a single god. Three of the most well-known monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although all three praise the same omnipotent God, their beliefs and doctrines differ. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world

Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. Most Jews are found in Israel and North America. Two of the most important aspects of Judaism are the Covenant, a special relationship with God, and the Ten Commandments, a set of principles regarding worship and ethics given to the prophet Moses.

The sacred text of Judaism is the Hebrew Bible, which most people know as the Old Testament of the Bible. The first five chapters, known as the Torah, are particularly significant to the Jewish people.

Jewish identity arises primarily from the culture and traditions of their people. Jewish beliefs vary widely on theological matters. However, there are three main 'movements' that represent certain theological beliefs: Orthodox Judaism, which is very traditional; Reform Judaism, which is the most liberal; and Conservative Judaism, which is the middle ground between the other two denominations.

Christianity is the most widespread religion in the world, though most Christians live in Europe or the Americas. Christians believe in God as a Holy Trinity. The name and symbol of Christianity both come from the prophet Jesus of Nazareth, known as Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the Son of God. Most Christians believe those who accept salvation through Jesus and follow the Ten Commandments will be rewarded in Heaven. Sinners who do not repent or who reject God will be punished in Hell.

The sacred text of Christianity is the Holy Bible, which consists of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament - which, among other things, narrates the life of Jesus.

Over time, Christianity has taken various forms, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and Protestantism. Today, there are hundreds of Protestant denominations. In the U.S., dozens of these denominations - the Baptists and Methodists are the two largest that command sizable followers.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Although there are many Muslims who live in the Middle East, there are also high populations in Northern Africa, Indonesia, and the U.S. The most important aspects of Islam can be summarized in their Five Pillars: recognizing Allah as the one, true God and Muhammad as God's messenger, daily prayer, almsgiving to the needy, fasting during Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Mecca.

The sacred text of Islam is the Qur'an, an Arabic word that means recitation. This name is derived from what Muslims believe was the very first message Muhammad received from God, which was in the form of a command: Recite! (in Arabic, iqra' ).

One of the conflicts that has at times crippled the lands of the Middle East is the Islamic Sunni/Shiite divide which is one of the defining conflicts of Islamic culture that still exists today with the Shiite minority mainly residing in Iran, as well as Southern Iraq and Southern Lebanon.

Like Christianity, the faith of Islam has broken into sects and offshoots. Two of the most controversial, yet well-known, of its offshoots are Sufism and the Bahai Movement (outlawed in Iran). Unlike Orthodox Islam, these offshoots believe that Muhammad's teachings were not the final revelations of Allah.



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