About the author:If you would like to discuss Matt's post in more detail, please contact Matt at [email protected]
The power of mediation has been a revelation to me over the past year. Since joining TCM in February last year I’ve got to know far more about resolution, mediation and facilitated conversations than I knew existed and I’ve been blown away by how much damage can be repaired in a relatively short time. To those not familiar with how impactful this can be, I should mention that more than 90% of disputes (from disagreement to full-scale grievance) are resolved through mediations led by TCM. These are issues that would otherwise be allowed to fester causing toxicity and dysfunctionality (and indirect costs in lowered productivity and performance). Many would also lead to investigations and tribunal, creating pain, misery and direct costs running into the 10s of thousands. Mediation creates a mindset shift away from churning over the details of what has happened to cause conflict, towards a focus on reframing the situation to understand what each party needs now. Having been part of this world for a while now, the impact still mesmerises me. I’ve heard feedback from parties who’ve had their lives dominated by workplace conflict for months on end. Mediation has transformed their lives, from a point where, for many, their wellbeing had been greatly diminished. People are capable of so much when they set their minds to resolving a problem. The skill of a mediator is to reveal to parties their own need to rebalance and heal working relationships and achieve a happier state of mind and plot a path to achieve that. My role at TCM is centred around developing our leadership offering. For 20 years, we have been developing leaders across a variety of sectors ranging from the NHS to banking, pharmaceuticals, and the leisure industries. So much of what we do in leadership development can be learned from the mediation process. [Please contact us if you'd like to discuss our Leadership offering (or our mediation services) with a member of the Senior Leadership Team.] Mediation requires the capacity to listen actively to another person, which is also a crucial component to effective leadership. Many of us will have been tempted to give people in conflict with each other ‘A good talking to’. We may also have an instinctive desire to problem-solve when faced with a challenging situation. Mediation teaches us to do the opposite. Our number one priority should be instead, to give people ‘A good listening to’ (a direct quote from David Liddle, TCM CEO and author of the book: Managing Conflict) Another key mediation skill is to help people reframe situations. When in conflict, we often only see things from one perspective. The mediation process enables for a mindset shift, and for individuals to gain a wider perspective of the situation. For leaders, this can also be a valuable tool in helping people recognise the value of change, and find a clear sense of their own purpose within an organisation. Questioning skills are also key to the mediation process. By asking a series of questions with curiosity mediators help people to:
- Reflect on their own thoughts, emotions and actions
- Consider their own impact on the situation
- Identify the difference between what they want and what they actually need to happen
- Ultimately, to strive to identify common ground and a potential way forward.