Conflict is all around us and it is part of everyday life; we can’t escape it. Can you recall ever watching a TV show or movie – including cartoons – where there were no disagreements, no conflicts, or no differences of opinion between the characters? Have you ever read a newspaper article or watched a news broadcast where conflict wasn’t in some way part of the background?
While all of us are familiar with conflict, having the means to effectively and objectively resolve conflict in a respectful manner is often a different matter. That is where people in conflict benefit from the services of a qualified neutral mediator.
Mediation is an effective tool for resolving a variety of issues, including civil, family, and workplace disputes.
Conflicts between employees can affect their productivity and create a toxic work environment that affects the morale and productivity of your entire staff. At its worst, employee conflict can lead to the loss of good employees who decide to move on to a better working environment. A professional mediator from The Village Business Institute can bring employees together to identify the root of their conflict and agree upon things they can each do to prevent the conflict from reoccurring – saving organizations time, expense and possible litigation.
Mediation utilizes a neutral third party to resolve conflict. The mediator facilitates discussion and encourages those involved to see the benefits of various solutions. In litigation, a judge has the final say. Similar situations exist in other forms of alternative dispute resolution. In mediation, the qualified neutral acts as a guide, but does not dictate the final outcome. Mediators facilitate discussion and negotiation that allow the participants to develop options, consider alternatives, and find mutually acceptable solutions. Not only does the neutral keep the process on track, he or she also ensures the disputing parties take responsibility for the resolution.
By bringing in a qualified neutral, disputes are resolved with objectivity and fairness. Both sides play a role in creating the resolution, meaning they are far more likely to abide by the details of the resolution. Because participants can find common understanding, mediation avoids the hard feelings that often arise from traditional litigation, and it is much less expensive.
When Is Mediation Appropriate?
Mediation is a non-adversarial way to resolve disputes regarding a variety of workplace and family issues:
- Sexual harassment
- Shareholder disputes
- Wage and hour
- Family businesses
- Divorce (child rearing arrangements, child support, spousal maintenance, dividing of property and debt, etc.)
- Cohabitation and non-marital parenting
- Estate planning
- Care of elderly family members
- Probate of estates
What Happens During a Mediation Session?
Aside from the mediator, a mediation session includes only the two parties who have agreed to mediation. The session typically lasts 2 to 6 hours, depending on the nature of the conflict and the willingness of the employees to move toward reconciliation. After discussing confidentiality issues, the mediator facilitates a discussion of the issues associated with the conflict and aids the participants in discovering and implementing mutually beneficial solutions to the conflict. Once both parties have come into agreement, the mediator will confirm the plan with the two parties or two groups. In the case of workplace mediation, the plan is shared with the employer.
About the Mediator
John E. Trombley, MMgt, is registered as a Qualified Neutral under Minnesota’s ADR Rule 114 with the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota, and is trained in Family Mediation through the Mediation Center at the Hamline University School of Law. He is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management, Group Crisis Intervention, and is certified in Internal Investigations by the Council on Education in Management. He serves as the Training and Consulting Manager for The Village Business Institute in Fargo.
John has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a Master of Management degree from the University of Mary, Fargo. Prior to founding his own organization development company, he served as a Command Pilot, Squadron Commander, and senior staff officer in the USAF and Air National Guard. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 6,200 flying hours.
The Village's Mediation Services are available in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Call John Trombley at 701-451-4953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.