Does mediation really work in instances of workplace conflict? Conflict at work can be distracting. It can also hinder performance, increase costly employee turnover, and lead to potential legal issues. These consequences become increasingly likely if the conflict or related tensions have been brewing chronically or over a long period of time. Mediation can be an effective method of resolution if other tactics have not worked and can have positive results if done properly.
Does Mediation Really Work at Work?
Your workplace needs a little steam let out of the conflict pot as disagreements, competing work styles, and inconsistent team building have put a damper on relationships and collaboration. Perhaps you’ve tried some conflict coaching but tensions are still arising. If you find yourself wondering, “Does mediation really work?” you might want to consider the best times to utilize mediation in your workplace conflict.
What Is Mediation?
Let’s start by clearly defining this approach. Mediation is when an impartial third-party steps in to facilitate a confidential and voluntary discussion between the individuals involved in a conflict. This approach is meant to empower participants in collaborating on their own solutions rather than having one handed down by a supervisor. Although the approach is effective regardless of who the conflict involves, mediation can be especially helpful in management and staff conflict where an imbalance of power amplifies the stress of the conflict.
Culture Benefits of Mediation
Learning how to handle conflict in the workplace can be stressful and not everyone’s forte. A mediator is typically someone who has training in the areas of conflict resolution and is removed enough from the workplace to see things more objectively without their own vested interests. With mediation, participants are given space to express themselves and receive validation for how they may be feelings. This can help de-escalate immediate tensions and provide a sense of safety that allows everyone to move beyond blame and anger and toward creative problem-solving. This process empowers employees to express themselves effectively while empathizing with others who may be having different experiences.
Mediation can also help employees gain a better understanding of how to be more effective in their communication, reducing future instances of conflict. This gives employees a chance to better understand their conflict resolution ability and make improvements where necessary.
Financial Benefits of Mediation
Conflict can be expensive and it takes a toll on more than just productivity and employee turnover. Conflict, if left unmanaged, can escalate into more permanent issues within the company’s culture which can evolve into lawsuits if harassment or discrimination occurs. Employees who take their issues public could create costly issues around public relations and may put a damper on hiring quality talent. Employees who are customer-facing might even start to take out their ignored frustrations on your paying clientele. So if you find yourself asking “Does mediation really work?” consider how much revenue or profit might be lost if tensions were left unaddressed for too long.
Dealing with conflict in a workplace doesn’t have to be as time, energy, and cost-consuming as it may seem. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work with skilled mediators. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.