How can team mediation help?
Updated: Oct 31, 2021
Team mediation is a collaborative process in which employees work through unhealthy conflict, identify the issues, problem-solve them, and agree on how the future will look. An impartial mediator supports and facilitates this process.
Unhealthy conflict needs to be managed early or when it arises. An unhealthy conflict that is left unmanaged leads to damaged relationships, lost productivity, a preoccupation with the conflict, poor workplace morale, and severe consequences of potential escalation. Employees can spend hours a day talking about their grievances and even sabotaging other employees or teams, and this is not what staff are paid for, right. Well, in that case, you need to fix it, and now!
On the flip side, working through conflict as a team and knowing how to move forward with healthy conflict leads to increased productivity, a more enjoyable workplace culture and more robust, more effective workplace relationships, driving increased profits.
So, creating a healthy conflict environment from team mediation makes brilliant business sense? Right? So why do businesses avoid it? The main reasons that we come across at Adelaide Workplace Mediation are that:
If highlighted, the problem might become worse;
We are not sure who the main instigators are;
We don't want to lose anyone;
We don't want to start a witch hunt;
We don't know where to start.
Well, avoidance is no longer an option. As you know, conflict is inevitable, not only unavoidable but necessary. Healthy conflict leads to better workplace output, idea generation and brainstorming a different solution to problems. So healthy conflict is what is needed. The stage needs to be set for how this will be managed within the team. So how is this achieved?
First, we need to address the elephant in the room and create an environment that allows for open and honest communication. We achieve this by acknowledging the conflict and drawing a line in the sand, setting the stage for managing conflict moving forward - healthy conflict.
Once the elephant in the room has been addressed, we introduce the concept of healthy conflict. To keep conflict healthy and constructive, you need direct and clear communication. You need to pay attention to behaviour, using "I" language instead of "you", and being open to and seeking understanding of what other's have to contribute. Healthy conflict isn't about being agreeable or passive. It is about knowing how to challenge the thinking in a powerful, productive and resourceful way.
While we can't change people, we do have the ability to influence their behaviour.