diversophy® first special guest blog – Elmer Dixon Presents at Midwest Security & Police Conference

Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services, who frequently partners with our diversophy® team, spoke at the Midwest Security & Police Conference in Tinley Park, IL this week on the importance of intercultural conflict training for officers. Police chiefs from around the US Midwest participated in the event.

Dixon's presentation explored two aspects of responding to conflict: first, how one communicates disagreement, and second, how one expresses emotion. He suggested that being able to quickly recognize conflict styles will enable officers to deescalate high intensity situations by making small changes in how they react.

"If I [have an] emotionally restrained style and I'm talking with someone who is emotionally expressive," he said, "Even minimal amounts of emotion through either expressions on your face or tone or volume indicates to the other person that there's some feeling there, and that you care about what's going on with them."

"Recognizing cues from the other party is not a complicated game," he explained, but rather, "It's a matter of training your ear very quickly to hear expressions of emotion or not; hear directness or indirectness. It really is as simple as that."

Although nothing is foolproof, Dixon believes that with a little training and practice, many violent situations can be avoided.

To further explain his point, Dixon played a video of a Police Chief whose unit received his training. The Chief stated, "Mr. Dixon and the team at Executive Diversity Services brought in training that was specific to cultural groups that they surveyed in our communities. Our veteran officers who were not quite sure about this training came away with very positive feedback and real tools that they could use in their jobs." He explained that it helps the officers "Communicate in a more positive way with people and understand where they're coming from."

Following his presentation, Elmer Dixon answered the question, "What is diversity training?"

He explained that as legal and societal barriers for immigrants, minorities, and women were broken down in the workplace over time, "It became important to understand the dynamics of difference and diversity.” Targeted and applicable diversity training became necessary.

In order to effectively teach cultural competence, Dixon insists that the students must first seek to understand themselves and their own conflict styles. That knowledge allows them to more clearly see the dynamics of a situation and adapt to the conflict styles of others. Another strategy is to avoid negatively labeling those who are different. "Through training," he states, "You learn that your way is not the only way, and you learn to appreciate different ways of communicating and different perspectives. That's what makes an organization rich and more productive; you value all the parts of the whole to make them more dynamic."

About Elmer Dixon: 

Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services, has been a leader in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, Multiculturalism and Human Rights for 30 years. He has designed and delivered diversity/inclusion, cultural competency and multicultural training sessions and led organizational development, team building and conflict management programs for government agencies, police departments, not-for-profit organizations and major US and global corporations.
Elmer brings both practical experience (he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King as a child and was a founding member of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party) and a dynamic presence to his work in training and as a highly sought after speaker, leading keynotes and teaching courses for businesses, universities (Finland and France) and professional organizations (SIETAR) around the globe.


Originally published in Chicago Tribune, written by Community Contributor rachellejanae

August 19, 2016, 10:21 am

Featured image: 

Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services, spoke to group of Police Chiefs at the Midwest Security & Police Conference in Tinley Park, IL. (Posted by rachellejanae, Community Contributor)

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

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