Difference in attitudes, values, priorities, lifestyles, observation and interest occur in every meaningful relationship - in our workplace, families and communities.
In the workplace these differences can, when handled constructively, create effective motivated teams. However when handled incorrectly can give rise to conflicts that can hurt our co-workers, our family, and our friends Your choice to bring a conflict to mediation is an important first step in its resolution.
Although mediation is an informal process intended to allow people to exchange information and discuss their interests, being prepared will help you get the most value out of mediation.
Your best interests may not be served if decisions are made based on incomplete information. The chances of reaching an agreement in mediation that will be satisfactory to both sides, will increase when thought is given to the following piece of the dispute before the mediation:
Make sure that you are prepared to explain in your own words the "facts" of the dispute for the benefit of the other person or people involved and the mediator, this will help the other party hear your perspective. Think about how to express your views in a way that the other person will hear and understand, even if they don't agree. The tone and focus of the introduction sets the mood (and sometimes the focus) for the mediation. If you hope to reach an agreement take advantage of the opening as an opportunity to make it clear that you are there to negotiate and resolve - not to argue about the past.
Clearly define the issues of importance and your needs before the mediation. Some useful starting points include:
Do not assume what these needs are, but fully explore all aspects of the dispute: for example, "I want my employer to stop second guessing all my decisions, I have been working for 20 years and have an excellent History of employment. " Maybe the initially stated concern, but the underlying interests may include:
Identify interests that may be common to all parties involved. In the example above, it may be difficult to negotiate when one position is "trust my work" and the other is "I don’t trust you.” Productive negotiation is much more likely to occur if attention is paid to common issues and needs.
Try to imagine the possible interests of the other person, basically what is important to them.
Prepare open-ended questions to assist you during the mediation in understanding the other person’s interests in order to successfully move the discussion toward common interests.
Create a number of possible solutions, which may address the interests of all parties involved.
Remain flexible and consider possible creative responses to solutions, which may be proposed by the other person at the mediation.
Keep in mind that creative proposals are not necessarily offers, but simply ideas.
Ask yourself what will happen if you don't settle. Do you want to go to grievance or Harassment Investigation? How much time are you willing to put into this? How strong is your need to resolve? Considering these types of questions allows you to measure the value of offers made during the mediation so that you are able to decide between an acceptable and an unacceptable offer.
Remember, mediation is a choice. This choice validates your commitment toward creating a safe, healthy and respectful work environment. Please remember that mediation is about listening to understand. Your willingness to tell your story and then respectfully listen to understand another person's view is important.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Darrell Hayward or Heather White:
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