Mediation is really about problem-solving. It is a highly effective step-by-step process that provides an opportunity to clarify issues, increase understanding, and stimulate mutual problem-solving efforts between employees at any level of an organization. I work with leaders, managers, staff and teams, in unionized and non-unionized environments.
As a skilled professional, I facilitate the resolution process between disputing parties, in part, by establishing a collaborative partnership with them and creating an ethical and respectful mediation environment where they feel safe to speak up, to listen, and to take ownership in the process and the outcome. We’ll work together to clarify the nature of the interpersonal problems, to fully and accurately understand each employee’s unique perspective, to identify participants’ needs, to recognize the true impact of the conflict, and to fully engage in a respectful resolution process.
Problem-solving sessions like this often result in better communication and a higher level of understanding between co-workers.
As a Mediator, I act as a neutral third party coordinating and guiding this systematic process. I provide impartial and unbiased input, check for understanding, ask clarifying questions, paraphrase the discussion, and often introduce different perspectives for consideration. I am not at all like a Judge or an Arbitrator; and this means I never tell participants how they mustsolve the problem(s). I do, however, work with participants to assist them in getting to their own viable and mutually agreeable solutions.
The Mediation Process
Mediation is a highly effective process that usually occurs over multiple sessions. The length of time spent moving through the process depends on various factors like the complexity of the conflict, how long it has been ongoing, as well as the characteristics and needs of the participants.
The Mediation process consists of several systematic steps–and I support participants at each and every step as we progress.
- In the first session, I meet privately with each participant to fully explain the process so he/she knows exactly what to expect throughout our time together. I’ll also explain the expectations of both the participant and mediator roles, as well as outline the benefits of mediation, answer any concerns or queries from participants, and obtain informed consent to move forward. I’ll then ask the participant questions (that are given to the participant in advance of our first meeting) to understand his/her position and perspective of the conflict, assess needs, and solicit input on viable solutions.
- After our initial private meeting, I sit down with both participants together to establish mediation ground rules– with a goal to create an ethical and respectful mediation environment where each participation feels safe to open up about the problem and to ensure confidentiality. Next, each participant has the opportunity, uninterrupted, to present the conflict issue(s) from his/her perspective. There is no “discussion” between participants at this early stage, and only the Mediator probes for information and summarizes what has been said– while each participant listens attentively and respectfully to the other.
- As the process unfolds, the participants engage with each other to gain clarity and understanding, have open dialogue and inquiry, brainstorm for action, and create joint solutions that meet both participants’ needs.
For answers to some commonly asked questions about employee mediation like “Why hire a Mediator?” and “What is an ethical and respectful mediation environment?” please visit the FAQ page.