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MEDIATION JOURNAL





Organisations which are seeking ways of bringing their corporate values to life should not overlook interest-based techniques, as these have a real part to play in mitigating the erosion of organisational and personal values which is caused by tension and conflict at work.


The role of mediation in supporting your values


Resolving conflict in the workplace provides opportunities to model your values and to engage your employees. Yet it is during conflict that values are most under pressure and are least likely to be evident in people’s behaviours.


Many people experience the difference between their interests and those of others as a point of tension. Under additional pressure - such as a performance conversation or a change programme – a win-lose mindset is triggered. People in conflict replace espoused values with cynicism and defence:


Accountability becomes ‘I’m not to blame’ Trust becomes ‘what have you got to hide?’ Honesty becomes criticism and personal attacks Integrity becomes arrogance


When people are in a conflict, they start to view each other as having lapsed from the company’s values: ‘he’s not respecting me’; ‘she’s just interested in covering her back, and won’t admit to any weaknesses’.


Values


themselves, such as ‘respect’ and ‘honesty’, become ammunition in the arguments.


This is when a trained mediator is most useful, as they carry the organisation’s values into the mediation room. One role of the mediator is to model the values of respect, accountability, integrity and honesty. They surface parties’ unconscious thoughts, associated feelings and resulting behaviours. Once surfaced, these are explored, and new ways of understanding and responding to one another are agreed.


One key value of mediation, accountability, means that people come up with solutions of their own as a result of being honest and trusting with each other. In this way, mediation transfers responsibility and accountability away from the organisation and back to the individuals.


By Katherine Graham CMP Resolutions


Applying your values even at the point of exit


Even when a working relationship should be brought to an end, adopting interest-based principles means it is possible to end a workplace contract with dignity and respect, trust and accountability. Settlement mediation facilitates dialogue between employer and employee and creates an environment where organisational and personal values can be brought to bear. This way of using mediation mitigates reputational damage, as employees can say to their employer what they have to, prior to leaving; and the employer can learn from the employee’s feedback.


So don’t just view win-win as something for the mediation room; bringing interest-based communication skills to your organisation will support your values, people’s performance, and your productivity.


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UK Mediation Journal | Issue 1 Sponsored by


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