In mediation, an impartial third party facilitates negotiations between parties in conflict to help them design their own mutually acceptable solution. Unlike lawyers, mediators do not take sides or pass down decisions, give therapy or counseling, or reveal confidences. Mediation services are available through the courts and some state, local and private organizations that provide conflict resolution services. Generally, mediation is much faster and less expensive than resolving conflicts through litigation or arbitration.
One of the most overlooked benefits of mediation is that it helps preserve important business and personal relationships that could be damaged by years of litigation. Because of the collaborative nature of the process, and because it isn’t inherently a “win-lose” system, mediation can help repair many of the important relationships that would otherwise be destroyed by litigating the matter through the legal system.
Discover the Underlying Problems
While mediation can resolve disputes, it also enables employees to discover the real problems causing workplace disruptions. Employees often find it difficult to express their concerns to managers, which leads to misunderstandings and conflict. Through mediation, employees can communicate openly in a confidential and respectful environment to discover the true causes of the dispute and find mutually satisfying solutions.
When choosing mediation services, look for a professional who is well trained and experienced in handling your type of case. It is important to choose a mediator who will be able to work well under pressure and who has a calm temperament. You should ask mediators to describe their style of mediation and how they normally proceed through the process. For example, some mediators may tend to use caucuses (meetings with the mediator without the other parties present), while others rarely or never use this procedure. You should also inquire about the mediator’s ethical standards, if applicable.