Conflict resolution is worth fighting for

By state Sen. Linda Newell

Posted

Since 2009, every October during Conflict Resolution Month, I've been writing and presenting town halls about reducing conflict in our lives. Yet we are again dealing with a partial federal government shutdown due to the stubbornness in the U.S. Congress.

And why? Apparently, some people just don't know how to manage conflict effectively. Or maybe their egos have run amuck, and they think they don't have to govern efficiently in order to remain in office? Maybe they need to hear from us that they need to find a better way of governing; a more collaborative method.

Every year in the workplace, employers (including the government) across the country are losing millions of dollars in employee absenteeism, lost productivity, and employee turnover due to people not knowing how to prevent or solve people problems. How many marriages could be saved if people knew how to stop yelling and start listening? And how many taxpayer dollars could be saved if members of Congress could drop their egos and collaborate on solutions rather than finger-pointing? Colorado's No. 1 employer is the federal government, so we're certain to be affected by this dysfunction.

This is why I have once again sponsored Conflict Resolution Month. And isn't it ironic that as we watch the U.S. Congress implode, that in Colorado, we're honoring October as Conflict Resolution Month?

What is Conflict Resolution Month, and how can it help our communities?

Across Colorado during October, there are local and regional events that range from workshops, to town halls, to open dialogues where people can learn tips and techniques about preventing or resolving their own conflicts. I'm very proud that we now have all the cities and towns in Senate District 26 proclaiming to spread the awareness of Conflict Resolution.

Imagine if every elected official, government employee, or contractor collaborated with each other in their work. The efficiency and effectiveness of government would soar. The cost savings would rise. And trust in government could be regained.

How can it help you personally?

Imagine having more peace in your home or peace among your friends or neighbors. Think of hearing your kids bragging about solving their own problems on the playground or in the classroom. And what if you knew how to handle that cranky co-worker, customer, or boss? Your workday would become easier and more enjoyable. If we had the tools to prevent or minimize just some of our conflict, imagine how much better life would be for all of us.

Doctors tell us that when we reduce the stress in our lives, we reduce our chances of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, etc., and the list goes on. And what creates stress? Usually, some sort of conflict — internal or external.

Please join me at my Conflict Resolution Town Hall on Oct. 12 at Blueberry's on Littleton Boulevard at 9 a.m. We will be providing conflict resolution tips, tools, and resources that are available locally. Go to senlindanewell.com, conflictresolutionmonth.org, or call 303-866-4846 for more information.

Linda Newell is the state senator for Senate District 26, which includes Littleton, Englewood, Bow Mar, Columbine Valley, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, west Centennial and parts of Aurora. She can be reached at 303-886-4846 or linda.newell.senate@gmail.com.