Two extremely emotional and stressful events in any person’s life are divorce and workplace conflict. Workplace conflict may linger for months or longer before some event breaks the camel’s back, and you find yourself either at the receiving end of disciplinary action or you’re the one issuing the disciplinary action. An enormous amount of misery and conflict is avoided when managers and supervisors use mediation for resolving workplace conflict. Mediation can effectively de-escalate seemingly irreconcilable differences.
Mediators assist employees and business owners in creating communication strategies such as reflective listening, summarizing the speakers statements and simply, listening without interruption. A skilled mediator helps struggling parties through the emotions and frustration of escalating issues of conflict that are present at mediation.
The mediator guides the parties toward a pathway for better understanding and resolution. While in mediation, the parties have the opportunity to respectfully engage the full attention of the individual with whom they have concerns. Each party gives their own perspective of the event, allowing each to tell their own story. The mediation process results in an improved understanding of each other’s perspective. The parties may find that agreeing to respectfully disagree is a first step to improved communication. By drawing from the discussions at mediation, the mediator will listen for solutions. Typically, the parties themselves will offer small hints of ideas for resolution which can become the building blocks for a successful mediated agreement.
Employment conflict is costly. When an employee is distracted by workplace conflict, the employee is not focused on the business-at-hand. Statistics provide that frustrated employees are more likely to call in sick, arrive at work late, produce less at work and overall, not be engaged with their duties. These statistics do not take into account additional employees who may be affected by the conflict and the disruption of an otherwise smooth working environment.
Employers and employees support workplace mediation because mediation has a high success rate and can be scheduled quickly, which results in people getting back to work. An employee who intends to continue their employment, even despite the conflict, and admits to having good wages, benefits, and working conditions, will show up for work the day after the mediation. Walking away from a good job is not very likely. Therefore, parties in workplace mediation have a greater stake in the success and long term responsibility of a mutually acceptable outcome.
Contact a mediator before a conflict rises to the level of filing legal action or before the parties are unable to communicate. It is important to select an experienced mediator who is Florida Supreme Court Certified.
Written by Noël Miner
Noël L. Miner of Linke Mediation, Inc., is Florida Supreme Court Certified in Circuit & Family Mediation and has been successfully resolving disputes in Florida since 1995. Please call (561) 301-5561 and visit www.LinkeMediation.com for information.
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