The Steps to Take for Successful Mediation
Getting a successful outcome in a dispute resolution can depend on the process followed and some key tips to improve outcomes.
Know who is going to party to the mediation, and where it will take place. Often neutral environment outside the workplace is helpful for internal disputes. Each side may be bringing lawyers, co-workers, union reps, or other representatives. So planning the physical environment it key.
The mediator should introduce themselves and the process. Setting ground rules is extremely effective at this point. Clarifying the issues and remit of the mediation is extremely important at this point, i.e. identify the issue and that this mediation is about resolving the issue and improving relationships.
Open Story Telling:
At this point each side gets to tell their side of the dispute, most importantly without interruption. It is the mediator’s job to clarify any discrepancies or unclear messages. This is often the most important piece of the whole jigsaw because each side actually gets to hear what the other party feels and how they see the dispute, often for the first time. To aid movement to resolution a mediator may use positive messages to reframe some of the dispute but does not lessen the conflict at any stage.
Each party gets to respond to what they have heard and to question the position of the other party to get a better understanding of their needs and concerns. The mediator often reframes and translates issues for each party to improve understanding which leads to improved resolution. When there is impasse the mediator tries to steer a way out of it to get discussion back on track.
Sometimes, if emotions run high or if the parties are not ready for face to face discussion, the mediator may split them into different rooms where he can question them more deeply to get a better understanding of the issues. The information shared here is confidential and only shared with the mediator, he will only bring the agreed information to the other party.
Negotiating the Resolution
Now comes the time to resolve, where possible, the outstanding issues. Ideas and proposals are formulated which seek in some way to meet the needs and core interests of each party. The mediator can lead this in a single room, or using the shuttle format. The mediator, doesn’t provide the answers but uses his skills and knowledge of each parties’ position to help formulate an agreement that is beneficial to both.
Not all conflicts can be resolved, it is believed that 80% that undergo mediation will achieve resolution, and not all solutions will be truly win-win, but they will still be better than a protracted court battle with an imposed solution.
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