S – Situation – a conflict within a team had not been addressed. The organisation is focused on the colleagues that have cited a collective grievance. The two individuals concerned have been invited to enter into mediation. If this conflict (and the impact on the team) is not addressed then one or both individuals could lose their jobs (and there will be long-term damage to the strength of the team).
T – Task – the two individuals are contacted separately and mediation is discussed with both, so they have a clear understanding of the process and how it will benefit them. Then, using a qualified workplace mediator, the date for a session is booked. The desired outcome from these sessions is to help each person explore the issue from their own perspective and that of the other party, to understand how that might be impacting their colleague/team. Ideally a compromise can be achieved, where both parties can agree on a way forward that is beneficial to all concerned.
A – Action – through the impartial mediation process, each person has the opportunity to talk, be listened to and understood. They are then supported and guided to develop a statement, something that the individual can read aloud to their colleague. This raises the level of awareness about how the conflict has occurred and gives direction as to how to resolve it. This activity also creates the opportunity for misunderstandings to be explored.
R – Result – the ideal outcome is a complete understanding and appreciation relating to the conflict, plus a genuine desire to make a change. Things don’t always go this smoothly, however by taking the positives from the situation and seeing things from someone else’s perspective usually brings about a shift in behaviour. If there is a will to change and compromise, then the worst case scenario (dismissal) can be avoided and the individuals can go back to working – professionally and productively.
S – Spin offs – the situation is resolved and the two individuals return to work. The grievance is dropped and subsequently the team is much happier, and more effective. The business is seen (internally and externally) to be addressing conflict rather than hoping it will just go away. Ideally the business engaged the mediation programme informally and at an early stage, to ensure problems were nipped in the bud and didn’t escalate. The final element of the mediation work would be a Team Away Day – a successful, motivational day for all!
*Due to the confidential nature of the work Janice Clare Consultancy is involved in, the scenarios (above) best describe typical situations and outcomes. Specific references and testimonials are available upon request.