With the right tools we can handle more conflict.

Tools to handle conflict

Mediation is conflict at its best.   All of the tools, I, as a mediator brings to the mediation help manage the conflict to a great resolution.

Management expert Margaret Heffernan postulated five counterintuitive guidelines learned in her years running businesses and organizations in her TEDGlobal 2012 presentation.

Her insight has great implications for successful mediations.  I have always contended that mediation is conflict at it best and her insight bares this out.   Heffernan has developed five guidelines for productive disagreement.

  1. Appoint a devil’s advocate
  2. Find allies
  3. Listen for what is NOT being said
  4. Imagine you cannot do what you all want to do
  5. After a decision is made, declare a cooling off period

These are counter intuitive guidelines because it is assumed in mediation as well as life that we need to avoid conflict; smooth it over if we have to and compromise if all else fails.   Our job is not to avoid, smooth over or compromise, it is to find a better way.

Explains Heffernan: “All of these guidelines are neutral and designed to aid exploration rather than judgment. There’s never any reason not to try these — who doesn’t want to make better decisions?”

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

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