Richmond Mediation Specialists Resolve Workplace Conflict

Imagine yourself in the midst of a conflict with a co-worker or management. It happens all the time and it can create a stressful and distressing situation for everyone involved. Conflict causes people to say and do things that they typically would not say or do. And workplace conflict is disruptive to the organization and the business. If you find yourself in conflict with a co-worker, manager, or someone else in your company, mediation may be a way to resolve the issues. People even find themselves in conflict with customers - which can have disastrous effects - and mediation may be the solution. Many workplace disputes can be resolved quickly with the help of skilled mediators. Identifying and resolving conflict early can save thousands of dollars in litigation and lots of headaches. Resolving Workplace Conflict Imagine yourself in a busy office with high demands on your time. Your email is overflowing, clients are highly demanding, and your phone is ringing constantly. You feel that your personal life is suffering as a result of the job demands on your time, and life is now a series of unhappy events each day. Your manager is expecting more and more of you every day and you are not only overworked, but you feel under-valued. Before you know it, resentment and conflict have crept into your life in a big way. The whole work/life balance is way out of kilter! This often happens to individuals who are extremely valuable to a company. They have a lot to offer, and both management and clients depend on them heavily. Rather than losing such a key member of a team, individuals and managers are wise to consider mediation to resolve issues. Resolving Issues and Moving Forward A skilled mediator can help you put things into perspective so that both parties are able to move forward in a productive way. Some of the steps we follow include:
  1. Stop and listen. Rather than rushing around and blaming someone for everything that is happening, mediation focuses on listening to what is being said. It makes it possible for both parties to understand what is driving the conflict. When we listen to what someone else has to say, we sometimes find that they have a great point!
  2. Identify what's important. In mediation, we help both parties identify what's important to them. Perhaps it's as simple as acknowledgement of the valuable work that is being done. Or maybe, an individual needs a better work/life balance and needs to re-establish priorities. Whatever is important to each person is revealed and discussed so that both parties understand what the other person wants and needs.
  3. Focus on the positive. Mediation allows parties to focus on the positive aspects of the situation. Unlike litigation where controversy is part of the process, mediation chooses to focus on the positive. It allows the individuals to speak for themselves in a positive way rather than having outside parties 'assume' what they want to say or do.
  4. Discuss rather than accuse. In mediation, we discuss the situation and address the problem rather than accusing each other of something. It's about truly listening, understanding, and discussing possible solutions. Skilled mediators help both parties avoid blaming each other and attacking each other - instead, staying focused on the problems and not attacking the person.
  5. Take assumptions out of the process. Mediators will help you consider questions that lead to solutions. Rather than accusatory questioning, mediators ask questions that help you identify what you want, and that help you understand what the other person wants. Mediators take "assumptions" out of the process and focus on facts and real information.
  6. Focus on solutions. Working through issues that cause conflict in the workplace is not always comfortable.  But mediation helps both parties navigate the discomfort by focusing on issues and solutions, and not personal attacks or defamation of character. The positive process unfolds as communication becomes the focus, rather than hurt feelings, anger, and disappointment. The discussion and the focus becomes about solutions, and not accusations.
If you find yourself in a workplace conflict that is affecting your ability to perform your job, get along with coworkers, and/or negatively impacting your life, it may be time to consider mediation. Don't assume that the conflict has to continue, or that you have to quit a job that you once enjoyed. Instead, turn to mediation as a tool to help you resolve the issues and move forward in a positive way. Liza Hill is a lawyer who also serves as a Richmond Mediation Specialist and Mediation Expert.