How to resolve conflict with Ross Kemp

The actor and investigative journalism on how to find a resolution, even at the trickiest of times...
How to resolve conflict with Ross Kemp
July 10, 2017   |    Gemma Calvert

‘In today’s society, too many people are on ‘send’ rather than ‘receive’. Something I’ve tried to do as I’ve got older is listen and, as a result, I’ve become more prepared to turn the other cheek and eventually come to a resolution. Try to put yourself in the other person’s position to understand where they are coming from, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.’


I joined drama school at 18 and spent 10 years in EastEnders before turning to documentary making in 2004. I’ve been in some hazardous situations, but didn’t truly grow up until my first visit to Afghanistan in 2007.


I’ve never come home from an investigation and had therapy, but would never rule it out because being able to talk after trauma is a strength, not a weakness – something I learned from 45 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan. Opening up about your personal feelings is a good way to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. One in four of us will suffer some kind of mental illness so, especially for blokes, talking about our feelings is vital.


Since being on the front line in Afghanistan I have made the most of life. I still make stupid mistakes, like get angry with people in traffic jams when I shouldn’t but, overall, I’d like to think I’m calmer. I also accept that we’re only here for a short while, so I make the most of life and cherish every second.


Intuition is always present – even more so when different translations are going on. From the battlefield to the boardroom, body language is key. Investing time getting to know people is crucial, no matter how much you may dislike them at first. When you find common ground, you can break down barriers.


When I’ve been away investigating very difficult situations, I appreciate nothing more than returning home to my wife and children. I get my mettle from my dad and grandad, who were pretty tough boys. My dad was a detective at Scotland Yard and served in the army for four years. Now I’ve got my own family, my biggest fear is rooted in the responsibility of being a good father and husband.


‘I’d like to carry on doing investigative documentaries because it defines who I am. I love what I do and I think I’m good at it. The adage ‘if you’re going in for a tackle, never go in half-hearted’ is true. Always go into everything with 100% commitment. Self-belief is one of life’s most important skills.’

Ross Kemp: Extreme World continues on Sunday 16 July at 9pm on Sky1 and NOW TV


1. Listen
Other people have been here before. You may not act on what they say, but the more you know the better.

2. Work with the best
If the team you’re in is good, you won’t compete with each other, you’ll pull together.

3. Don’t go in blind
One mistake I’ve made in life often is turning up and hoping for the best. Don’t. Always plan ahead. Be prepared.

4. Remember both good and bad
Be hard on yourself when necessary but be sure, also, to congratulate yourself when you deserve it.

5. Club together
There’s too much isolation in society. We need a more united community.

Read more: Richard Branson on why learning the art of survival is vital to success

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