Are you caught up in an impossible situation at work? Perhaps a disagreement that has become a dispute, either with another employee, several employees, or with your manager? What do you see happening next? Surely there is an alternative …
- No-one wants my side of the story.
- I know I’m not perfect, but it isn’t all my fault!
- I think I’m being treated unfairly.
- I don’t know how to get things back to normal.
- I need help, not to be pushed.
It’s easy to feel that putting your side of the story isn’t being asked for. Whether you feel you are in the right, or that the situation is out of control, you may feel that clearing the air and getting back to good working relations isn’t about to happen by itself.
Mediation for the employee
It could be that all you can see happening is disciplinary action, and that maybe you will come off worst. It doesn’t have to end this way. Perhaps you are reading this now because someone has suggested mediation, and you aren’t sure what’s involved, or whether you trust it. However, it is voluntary for every party concerned, and you do have a choice.
Mediation is about taking the tension and heat out of a situation by inviting an independent professional to start a new conversation. Their job will be to listen equally to everyone involved, without any preconceived ideas about who needs to do what.
Remember mediators are ‘omni-partial’ – their job is to understand the feelings and interests of every party, not be just a neutral bystander, listening to the loudest or most senior voices. The mediator is on everyone’s side, working positively for all, for each to find their own best options, in a safe place.
They will be:
- completely impartial
- available equally to everyone
- seeking a quick, but best possible, outcome
- a trained specialist
- concluding only with outcomes agreed by all parties, equally, and without duress
It is natural to feel unsure or apprehensive about any new process, especially after a period of tension. Mediation is not a case of HR bringing in heavyweights, and no-one is being coerced into it. It is just an opportunity to level the playing field. Are you willing to give it a go? Most participants find new commitment to finding a resolution as they work through the process, and in 85% of cases, they reach a satisfactory outcome.