Lessons of a mediator

by Human Capital19 Jun 2012

  • Don’t initiate mediation if a party is not ready. By this I mean, when a party is too angry to focus on discussing the issue and being open to the other parties perceptions. For a meaningful discussion to occur and a change to take affect, the parties need to be open to seeing the conflict through another’s eyes and engaging with the other person in a constructive way. A situation like this might require you to encourage the party to utilise the EAP first or you may commence with a shuttle mediation until the parties have clearly identified their interests and needs and have moved to be forward focussed.
  • Similarly, don’t commence mediation if a party is too focussed on wanting to know they are right, that is, wanting vindication. Mediation does not involve confirming that someone has done the right or wrong thing in a conflict. It requires an open mind to appreciate or respect, not necessarily agree with, each others perceptions and move forward together with concessions.
  • Don’t embark on the mediation if a party does not have the nous to have an open and confronting discussion. It sounds harsh but it takes a degree of communication skill to participate in mediation. To sit in front of someone who you feel less than comfortable with and talk about how you perceive their interactions and what you intended with yours, is difficult and confronting. You have a role in developing their communication skills to allow them to participate in the mediation.

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