It is not surprising that workplace conflict is one of the most talked-about topics in HR. Many different types of people work in an office, and the difference in opinions and personality is usually the cause of workplace conflict.
A conflict can occur when people with different educational, cultural, ethnic, religious backgrounds, and even different departments are working together under one roof of an organization.
These people with diverse backgrounds usually have different opinions, beliefs, and expectations. Usually, a manager handles the situation and nips it in the bud before it escalates. To manage conflict effectively, managers need to equip themselves with the proper tools and techniques.
There are plenty of ways to resolve a conflict peacefully, but the use of mediation in resolving conflicts and creating a healthy work environment is in trend these days.
This article discusses what mediation is and how it can help manage conflict in the workplace.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is used to resolve workplace conflict before it turns into something big and more troubling for the employees and the organization. Mediation is a technique used by the leadership to resolve a conflict by counseling the individuals involved in a conflict so they can understand each other’s point of view and come to the middle ground.
Today, organizations believe in training their employees and managers to develop the skills of mediation techniques while some hires external mediators to resolve a dispute. Most large organizations believe in hiring external mediators because the organizational structure is more complex, and the culture is more diverse.
Research shows that the use of mediation has minimized formal discrimination complaints in the United States of America and employment tribunal claims in the United Kingdom. It is through mediation techniques that even a deep-rooted conflict is resolved more effectively.
Techniques of Meditation
There are several kinds of meditation techniques that are best for resolving conflicts within the team or an organization. Effective mediation techniques include listening to both parties for a full understanding, reexamining, accessing the definition of the problem, and making clear agreements.
Research shows that mediation works in any organization, whether it’s an IT firm or a coaxial cable supplier. The use of these mediation techniques helps to resolve the issue by developing an understanding of the issues along with the deep-rooted underlying causes of the conflict.
How to Use the Technique of Mediation
A mediator acts as a middle man and resolves the dispute. They convince the members to come to an agreeable point and avoid any kind of argument. The mediator reserves their opinions and encourages members to make their own decision, rather than suggesting or imposing on the outcome themselves. A mediator should give a fair solution and use their powers in the right way.
When It Is Important To Use the Meditation Technique
A mediation technique is used when a manager or supervisor sees a disagreement between the team members or between colleagues. Mediation can also be used at any stage during a conflict if every member agrees. It can also help to rebuild the relationship after a conflict.
But mediation is not a suitable course of action for all kinds of disputes. Some issues like sexual harassment, bullying, or fraudulent actions need strict action, and the management has to follow a formal procedure.
The Process of Mediation
The process of mediation works on the principle of conversation between the involved team members or co-workers. The aim is to reach a satisfactory result, instead of getting indulged in an argument.
The process involves the following steps
- Set the rules and meet each member individually and have a detailed discussion.
- Allow each member to discuss his concerns. Take each of them separately into a quiet room away from others so that there is zero disturbance and involvement. Meeting each person alone gives room for frank and honest discussions from both sides. This is important to reach a conclusion and make an unbiased decision.
- The next stage is to discuss the issues together. Now that you have listened to each member arrange a joint meeting. Start the meeting with a positive note and summarize the whole discussion and situation. Point out the major points of agreement and disagreement.
- Encourage each member to participate and answer the questions without any interruption. Make sure each member gets equal time for discussion.
- It is time to negotiate and resolve conflicts. Take notes during all of the meetings that you mediate and, once the involved members have reached a conclusion, write it down and note it as a formal agreement. The leadership is responsible for making the agreement easy to understand. Moreover, leadership must ensure SMART actions and avoid unrealistic expectations.
Managing conflict is important to create a healthy work environment not only to retain your employees but also to make them more productive and gain a competitive edge in the market. Ignoring a conflict can be disastrous for any organization, so the management needs to take every step as soon as possible to nip the problem in the bud!