As children we resolved our dispute using the weapons of words because size was so disparate. Words are powerful and they are the essence of mediation. We need to convey our thoughts and feelings through the words we communicate including validating those thoughts & feelings. Also, one of the great compliments we constantly hear about mediation is that may be the first and only opportunity to convey your thoughts and feelings in a safe place.
One of the best descriptions we have heard about mediation is that it is a facilitated discussion where all of the parties in the dispute can speak their thoughts/feelings and listen to the thoughts/feelings of others.
With the assistance of an impartial third party, we can do what we did as children growing up, use discussion and talk to each other instead of past each other. This usually leads to more durable resolutions (again see how important defining the problem). Also, even if the parties do not resolve the conflict mediation, they are miles ahead of where they were in understanding the conflict and each other.
Thomas and Andy feel uniquely qualified as mediators and conversationalists to help you by actively listening to your issues and concerns and asking the right questions to draw out the true conflict.
Be sure to look next week as we address the topic of people’s feelings.
(Part 1) What’s the problem? Easy question, or so it seems? Before you go charging your Omaha beach, let’s take a step back and let’s begin a metaphoric pre or post mortem if you will, of common misunderstandings of most practitioners have in ‘what’s the problem”
Conflict is critical in life and most stories, plays and TV shows. How it is developed for media is one thing. How it unfolds in life, uncontrolled, is quite another!
In a land of make believe, we can control & utilize conflict in a variety of ways. In the real world, workplace, it does not work like that. A critical misunderstanding from theorists and non-practitioners is to solve a problem without really understanding with what they are trying to solve.
Let us recap. Already we have defined conflict as real and fictitious and we have spoken conflict that is controlled and that which is not. For example, what would MASH be like without the character of Frank Burns, the antagonis? Or the Big Bang Theory without Sheldon and countless conflict with everyone. Again, this is controlled and done for purpose.
Uncontrolled conflict by its nature, is not as manipulative, but can have the same positive effects if identified properly. Think about it, do we dive into a car repair, medical issue, house repair, without first properly defining what the problem and how much it will it cost. Once you understand the problem and the cost, then you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Therefore, before any of us try to resolve any problems, it behooves to properly take the time to identify what the real problem is. In the workplace it could be something as simple as a work procedure, or as complicated as how you act with other employees. Thomas and Andy have done this with numerous individuals and groups and seen it work. They guarantee few things, but as close guarantee as they would, if you utilize their services you will have made a herculean effort and succeed in defining what your problem is.
Stayed tune, more to follow (film at 11).
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