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Conflict Resolution Series: Mediators are Helpful Resources for Resolution

Mediators are a wonderful resource for resolving conflict between willing parties. Sometimes things get to the point where cooler heads aren’t prevailing, but there’s no need to rack up the expense of an attorney. A mediator can be an excellent resource for people who have the desire – but not necessarily the skills – to mend fences.

What is a mediator?

A mediator is a professional who is trained to help diffuse problems and help parties craft their own resolutions. Mediators...

  • Remain neutral

  • Generally, do not make recommendations - though in some instances they do

  • Help maintain an equitable negotiation or resolution

  • Use specific rules and skills to create clarity and high-functioning communication

  • Break down miscommunication and simplify issues

  • Seek to help people understand one another in order to come to a resolution

  • Redirect bad faith and replace negative-based communication with solution-focused communication

Mediators are neutral and have no personal stake in the outcome of the resolution. They do not take sides or present an opinion, except in court-ordered situations. The goal of mediation is for the people involved to sort out their dispute and come to terms that both can agree on. For this to happen, a few things must be true.

All parties must have equal standing

If one party has more standing in a dispute, there cannot be an effective mediation. If there is an imbalance of authority or power, then arbitration may be superior to mediation.

All parties must operate in good faith

If one party is unable or unwilling to do what is right or moral, there is no mediation. All parties must be willing to offer compromise. Additionally, no foul language, accusatory comments, or anger can linger in an effective mediation. While tempers may be an issue in the beginning, the parties should be able to speak their mind and set the anger aside with the goal of conflict resolution.

All parties must be willing to conclude the mediation

Mediation has a beginning, middle, and end. Dragging out the particulars of the situation or failing to come to an agreement, even if it isn’t 100% favorable to both sides, will result in a failed mediation. In many cases, mediation is a first choice for resolving conflict. It is generally low-cost and solution-focused, putting the power of conflict resolution into the hands of the disagreeing parties. Mediation should be one of the go-to resources for conflict resolution.

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