is a Balancing Act
Mediation is a negotiation process
aiming to reach an agreed outcome
Let's say there's two employees that just can't work together.
Or so it seems.
There's a bottleneck. The work is not getting done.
It's causing massive problems. Sound familiar?
This is what I was told by a food manufacturer - that the two employees in the admin and finance office fell out and stopped speaking, so invoices and stock orders weren't getting sent out. It was having a huge impact.
They've tried everything, they said - telling them to get on with the job, talking to them, getting them to talk to each other.
Their manager had tried. A different manager tried. The business owner tried too - 'but they just won't listen' I was told.
'Now, it's become so bad that if we don't fix it, one of them will have to leave', they said. 'But how do we choose who?'.
It's not a magic wand - it just feels like it!
That's the situation I faced.
After a two hour meeting, it was fixed. Wow!
Often just bringing in a new person to a conflict can make a huge difference, but clearly not here. The difference was simply - well, expertly - listening to them, not talking at them.
Even more importantly, helping them talk to each other. Safely.
They came to understand each other. The older employee felt the younger employee did't show her enough respect. The younger employee felt the older employee treated her like her Mum did.
See the problem? Once there's an understanding of the actual issue, it becomes possible to address the actual issue. Not speaking to each other was the symptom, of course, not the problem.
They needed to start with saying Hello at the start of the day - and asking each other questions, not offering up rants, throughout the day. Months later, I'm glad to say, it was still sorted and in fact much improved. They built on the stronger foundations.
If you set up a mediation properly - and it needs, time, care and attention to detail - it can be very effective indeed. Not always, but often.
If you've got a couple of employees, or even a whole team, that just can't get on and it is really hurting your business - why not give it a try.
It might not be a magic wand - but it can work wonders!