Conflict is a part of work life. It’s just the way it is. Differences and disagreements that turn into conflict between employees may lead to an increase in absenteeism, a reduction in productivity, disrupt workflow, impact employee job satisfaction, potentially affect team synergy and drive benefit cost.
Not all conflict is bad but if it disrupts the work environment or somebody else’s work, it’s worth taking a closer look.
Workplace conflict resolution, also known as mediation, provides a safe, confidential setting for those individuals in conflict to work through their dispute to help them face the issue and transform their conflict. This helps the employee, their work, their department and your organization.
Why can't managers mediate?
Most managers are great at solving problems, mainly because they know their department and organization and can address the various types of workplace difficulties. The interpersonal problems may be a different story. Interpersonal conflict may have many layers and often a manager’s position of authority over the employee or employees involved make it difficult to have an open and honest dialogue between them.
Mediating with an impartial, third party professional offers employees an opportunity to speak up, openly and bluntly about the problem before them. Together, they decide their resolutions.
The goal of workplace mediation is to get your employees and teams working at their best and in return they are better off because they have dealt with the issue.
One of many reasons mediation is successful is because often, the problems are resolved or in the very least managed. Another reason mediation works well is because it is a confidential process. Communication and information exchanged between the participants or parties are not discussed outside the mediation or revealed to anyone, unless all the participants agree this may happen. This allows what I call ‘communication digging’, where I help participants get to the root of the problem.
Mediation is a voluntary process. Often when employers provide the opportunity, employees will voluntarily participate, are pleased with the process and satisfied with the outcome.
The employer will only be told or provided the details of the end-result, the agreement and if there is no agreement, any other options discussed.
Conflict can be a growing problem if not handled correctly regardless of with whom or where we work. We all know that. Frequently, people avoid dealing with situations arising from unresolved conflict or even recent discrepancies because they are not equipped to deal with the stress or tension they experience as a result. In the very least, conflict needs to be managed so that the negative effects of ongoing conflict are minimized, some examples are the time spent pondering the issue, the avoidance of certain people or activities, negative self talk or fretting about the future.
Properly handled conflict can strengthen dealings with others, make our daily lives happier and increase job satisfaction. How do we get there?
One option is mediation. It’s a voluntary process where the participants discuss their conflict with an impartial conflict resolution professional, the mediator. There are no judgments, no taking sides, no advice, only assistance and support for those involved in order to reach a fair and acceptable resolution for the participants. The whole process is confidential. This means your employer will only be told of the end result, the agreement, not what was discussed in the mediation. There is nothing to lose and much to gain.
The whole process is confidential. This means your employer will only be told of the end result, the agreement, not what was discussed in the mediation. There is nothing to lose and much to gain.
Feel free to contact me for more information about Workplace Mediation and how it can help you and your situation.
Each individual directly involved in the conflict meets with the mediator, separately and privately, to tell their side of the story. The mediator listens to each participant’s perspective and narrative. After the pre-mediation meetings have all taken place, the participants are brought together in a joint meeting, the mediation, to figure out how things can be settled or in the very least, managed. All this is accomplished by the mediator facilitating discussions to explore the issues, encourage open and honest dialogue and helping participants create options for a resolution that works for all involved. Any and all agreements or end results are those of the participants.
The mediator follows up with each participant at a later date.