The power of mediation
I remember vividly a case involving a world-renowned surgeon. It was the first time I had ever worked with her although I have mediated a number of cases for the organisation she is associated with. On meeting her for the pre-mediation discussion, it struck me that she was being somewhat guarded with the information she was sharing. This wasn’t in itself totally surprising; it often happens. This is why rapport building in mediation is vital. I sat and listened to her story. By the time our session finished around one and a half hours later, I knew about her family, her marriage break-up, her affairs and her insecurities. None of this information was asked for. I, as mediator, represented a channel by which the Professor could be heard.
Mediation is incredibly powerful. This experience reminded me that, as humans, we are all prone to fail in our effort to build relationships. Suddenly the most senior, distinguished person becomes debilitated by an inability to manage conflict situations. Mediation and the mediator forms that bridge without which parties would fall down the ravine increasing the likelihood of picking up a physical or psychological injury on the way.
Mediation is an excellent way to find out issues that lie below any dispute. Pursuing the grievance process is unlikely to uncover deep issues of prejudice, resentment or un-forgiveness.
It provides a route to nipping issues in the bud and stopping the clock in relation to issues that can build momentum over days, weeks, months or years. It can, of course, also stop the clock in relation to a build-up of legal fees. Parties engaged in mediation will get a safe environment in which to:
– Confront their opponent
– Express their fears and concerns
– Put the pressing issues of the day job to one side for a day
– Build future personal conflict resolution skills
– Be in control of what the resolution looks like
– Expose the other party to their blind spots
– Explore positive outputs that might arise from the conflict
Can you think of a dispute in need of mediation?
Until next month