Problem solving mediation sessions provide businesses with avenues for resolving workplace conflicts quickly and effectively. Mediation services involve at least one objective professional helping two or more employees talk through their issues and come up with solutions that everyone is happy with. If you are considering adding mediation services to your business, review common examples of problem solving strategies below.

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Honest Discussions With All Parties

Mediation experts often start the conflict resolution process by sitting down with the involved parties individually. They allow the employees to speak openly and honestly about their issue(s) to determine the root of the problem, and do not pass judgment or “take sides.” Instead, the mediation professional simply sits and listens to each party, though they might record the conversation or take notes for reference purposes. Being able to discuss their problem without fear or interruption, judgment, or harsh criticism helps resolve the conflict efficiently. There’s little risk of team members being dishonest or otherwise not forthright, because they are speaking to someone who has nothing to do with the business. Discussing issues with their managers or the Human Resources department does not always offer these advantages.

Joint Meetings

Problem solving mediation often includes joint meetings with the involved parties, which typically occurs after one-on-one sessions about the issue(s). Once both parties have felt the chance to be heard, they don’t feel as defensive and are usually more willing to discuss the problem openly in a group setting. The mediator goes over the ground rules for the session, such as no interrupting or use of harsh language, before allowing each party to speak. They encourage empathy, or looking at the situation from the other person’s perspective, as part of the resolution process. Being able to consider an issue from another perspective can be enough to resolve the problem, because the parties realize that the other individual was not coming from a hurtful or malicious place. They might realize the issue was simply a misunderstanding or the result of poor communication, and decide to “get over it” and move forward in a positive way.

Negotiating

Negotiation is a common part of the mediation process. It gives the employees the opportunity to discuss what they feel will help them move beyond the problem, such as agreeing to answer emails in timely manners or refrain from making politically-charged jokes that others find distasteful or offensive. Brainstorming is typical during the negotiating process, as the parties might have a variety of ideas on how to resolve the problem for good.

Once several resolution-themed ideas are “on the table,” the mediator focuses on compromising. For example, say an employee has an issue with how another team member speaks to them. They might feel the person’s tone is condescending, harsh, or rude, even though the individual does not mean to cause offense. The second team member might not realize their tone is hurtful until they hear themselves on a tape recording. As a result, they agree to be mindful of their tone around the first employee, while said employee vows not to take their team member’s tone so personally. Both subsequently compromise and contribute to a more harmonious, happy work environment. Everyone else on the team will appreciate this compromise, as the related tension will lower, if not disappear.

Wrapping Up

Scheduling conflict resolution sessions with a professional mediator is something you will never regret. It allows team members to air grievances in a judgment-free environment and come up with resolutions that please everyone. Productivity often increases from professional mediation services, because team members are focused on their work instead of interpersonal squabbles. Your office or other work environment will also gain a reputation as a wonderful place to work.

For more about problem solving mediation, contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today!

Kent McGroarty

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