Calming and Defusing Neighbourly Disputes - Ten Useful Tips

One of the challenging issues for housing staff is mediating disputes between neighbours and responding to reports of anti-social behaviour.

The summer holidays are over and neighbours are returning to their usual routine. Tensions that may have been brewing during a time when they see and hear more of each other with outdoor parties, barbecues and open windows, can spill over into conflict as the holiday mood ends.

Housing officers attending reported incidents are likely to need to call upon some tried and tested calming and defusing skills.

Developing a De-escalation Strategy - Useful tips

In highly emotionally charged situations, it is easy for feelings of frustration and anger to spill over into aggressive behaviour, threats of assault at the other party or the housing officer, and in the worst cases actual physical assault.

Training staff to be able to spot trigger points early builds greater confidence in managing these situations and the people involved.

Adopting simple strategies to effectively de-escalate, defuse, calm and resolve situations significantly reduces the opportunities for conflict and aggression and leads to a safer outcome for all involved. This can include regularly re-emphasising some obvious, common sense actions to help staff establish a confident strategy for handling neighbourly disputes and getting to the root cause of potential anti-social behaviour. 

Working through the ten tried and tested tips below can help individuals organise their thoughts and actions when under pressure to react:   

  • Organise a meeting on neutral ground
  • Stay calm
  • Allow for personal space
  • Make sure you and the other person/people has an escape route
  • Think about your tone of voice and try not to raise it
  • Empathise and listen to what is being said
  • Don't talk over the other person and make sure all parties have an opportunity to speak
  • Try not to make a person lose face in front of others
  • Don’t make it personal - concentrate on the offence not the offender
  • Agree actions for each party, make it easy for them to do what you need them to do

Anti-social behaviour can be a real blight to individuals as well as communities. Working through appropriate channels with neighbours is the most effective way to re-establish the sense of safety and security for all residents in an area.

Click here for more information on our conflict management training.

Posted by Maybo on September 19, 2012


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