Time to mediate an employee conflict

Mediation offers supervisors a way to resolve disagreements between employees without getting personally involved. The goal: to help both sides work out a solution they can live with.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when you set up a mediation session:

If you are strongly biased toward one side, DON’T mediate the dispute. Ask someone who is not biased to be the mediator.

DON’T rush the process. It may take several meetings to reach a meeting of the minds.

DO get each side to explain any statements that are not clear to you.

DO control the process. For example, if one party continues to complain about a particular issue after it has been clearly understood, call attention to the step the group is now working on.

DO write on a whiteboard or easel so that everyone can see the progress that is being made.

If one person just seems to be ”going along,” DO stop and state your concern. People are unlikely to keep agreements they don’t really believe are fair.

Stay focused on the mediation process, and stay neutral. DON’T get caught up in the argument, and DON’T try to “rescue” the other side.

BOTTOM LINE: When employees work out a solution for themselves, they are more likely to feel that it is fair.