I haven't received nearly enough attorney and/or disputant responses to the Mediation Negotiation Survey, but I can share with you some preliminary thoughts, primarily of mediators, about the qualities they think you're looking for.
Patience, by the way, is in the lead as the most-cited essential mediator quality.
Are they right? Take the Negotiation and Mediation Justice Survey to let them know now!
In Answer to What Qualities a Good Mediator Should Have, individual responses include:
- Neither be naive nor cynical.
- Will re-focus us on what is important
- Skills to enhance communication between and with the parties and their counsels.
- knowledge of the law and the court system
- experience in the area in dispute and experience as a mediator in that area
- Will not intimidate the parties
- Will NOT NOT NOT NOT talk to one party before the other party arrives if the mediation is to be conducted with both parties present.
- The understanding that the "truth" or whether someone is lying is unknowable in some or many instances.
- ability to listen
- ability to manage the process
- Will listen for what isn't said and will be a good coach.
- A calm manner which encourages an appropriate hearing atmosphere.
- Will make sure both parties understand the cost (time, money and other) of not settling.
- sense of humor
- sense of the bigger picture in the workplace/business in /about which the dispute occurred
- ability to tease out any unspoken back- story between the parties and any goals additional to the outcome of the mediation for the parties
- ability not to impart a sense that he/she is rushing for a plane
- communicate that he/she is totally engaged even after the mediation ends, if called for.
- great facilitator
- fair, fair and fair
- sense of appropriate humor
- act professional not personal
- move along the process and keep control of the process
- ability to deal with difficult personalities
- Is able to facilitate the discussion and feed back what he/she is hearing from both parties