Mediation is assisted negotiation by an unbiased third party in the dispute. No one within your organization can bring this quality of neutrality because they will have their own perspective on the dispute and stake in its outcome. An outside mediator is unaffected by any outcome and can therefore better hear and respond to the negotiating parties.
A New Perspective
A mediator doesn’t get caught up in the details of a conflict. A trained mediator helps each person in the dispute uncover the underlying reasons for the conflict, aspects that can frequently be impossible to see when on the battlefield. A mediator brings a bird’s eye view that reveals the larger patterns at work in the conflict.
Provides focus on future action rather than blame—A durable, mediated agreement has specific, agreed-upon actions and clearly stated consequences if the agreement is broken. The specificity of the agreement breaks through the tendency for condemnation and excuses.
Conflict within your business is a huge drain on productivity. When you add up the time lost in disputes between business partners, employees and mangers, plus the energy spent among colleagues rehashing the hurt feelings, the planning on how to get even, the pondering what you should have said – it’s a wonder anything gets done at all some days. When you compare this expenditure of time and of energy your business puts into an argument, with the distracted focus and the barriers to productivity, investment in mediation is always a sound business choice.
A repaired relationship is stronger than one that has had no conflict—Can you remember a relationship that grew stronger and closer after a conflict was resolved? Maybe it was a disagreement with a parent, sibling, spouse or close friend. Similarly, coworkers that resolve disputes through honest communication build stronger teams than those too afraid to disagree. Good relationships are not built on always getting along but on the positive resolution of differences. A neutral mediator can break through the logjam and provide tools to resolve future disagreements.
Conflicts often arise because people care enough to fight for what they think is best. If disagreements continue to fester, those in conflict typically begin to disengage, to cease to care about the outcome and to plot an exit strategy. If you’ve ever experienced a rocky romance with frequent break-ups, you know the moment when the relationship was truly over was when you became dispassionate and no longer emotionally connected. If there is to be an ongoing business relationship it’s important to bring in a professional mediator before this final stage is reached. Once this junction is reached however, mediation can still be valuable to dissolve the partnership in a fair and equitable manner.
Mediation Builds Trust
Employees, partners and managers will know that you respect and appreciate their work if you are willing to initiate difficult conversations. If anyone in your organization is allowed to break agreements, to act with entitlement or to promote an atmosphere of ridicule and intimidation, you risk losing your best employees. Instead of a culture of fear, blame and apathy, when you confront disagreement you foster creativity, teamwork and pride.