There are several ways that you can resolve conflict successfully – and one is mediation. Mediation is a way of managing conflict that uses an impartial person to help team members to resolve their disagreements. The intention is to ease workplace tensions before they escalate into something more damaging. It differs from disciplinary and grievance procedures by offering a more informal and flexible approach.

You can use mediation at any point during a conflict as long as all of those involved agree to do so, and they put any ongoing formal procedures on hold. Generally, mediation is best used when a disagreement first arises as the longer a dispute goes on the greater the chances that people’s relationships will break down, or that they raise formal grievances.

Formal disputes are time-consuming and expensive and can ruin team relationships. They may lead to high levels of stress for everyone involved, as well as low morale. Research has shown that most people prefer mediation to bringing a formal grievance, and there is evidence to suggest that people who use it tend to be more satisfied with the outcome.

Another significant benefit of using mediation is that it enables companies to respond more quickly to conflict. Mediation encourages people to be open and honest, allowing them to really get to the heart of the issue. This can improve their chances of maintaining productive relationships and of nipping any problems in the bud.

Mediators act as a go-between and an enabler in a conversation between the people involved in the conflict. They help them to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, and to avoid getting derailed or stuck in an argument. Mediators reserve their own judgment and guide people toward their own resolution, rather than suggesting or ruling on the outcome themselves. However, their objective is to ensure a fair solution, guarding against the effects of any imbalance of power between the participants.

If you are in a conflict situation at your workplace and would like EAP Assist Mediation support please see: