What can you do when you have two people who can’t get along at work? Left unattended, productivity suffers and morale goes downhill. You could engage consultants and mediators to assist depending on how bad the situation is but if you think you can tackle this yourself and want a head start, here’s an easy guide to conducting a mediation meeting.
5 steps to conducting a mediation meeting:
- Have an independent witness – The independent witness’ role is to do just that – witness. The independent witness should not be you if you are running the meeting. This is to minimise the possibility that you get accused of siding one party against the other.
- Set the ground rules – Ground rules should include things like no swearing and name calling.
- Allow each person to state their case – This means allowing each person to state their “case” without interruptions or commentary from the other and then allowing each the opportunity to respond, again without interruptions.
- Developing a solution – Ask each person what he or she can do to help resolve the conflict i.e. focus on self before the other person. Be prepared for resistance at this point. Get agreement that the actions proposed are workable and a commitment from both that they will adhere to the agreement. Put the agreed actions in writing and get both people to sign it.
- Follow up – Set a time to have a follow-up meeting where the agreed actions will be reviewed and adjusted if required. The timeframe for the follow-up meeting will differ depending on the issues involved.
During the process, be conscious of your own agenda and motives and try not to allow them to interfere with the process. Most people will feel compelled to provide solutions but the process works much more effectively if the solutions come from the people involved.
Good luck giving the process a go!
If you do try this 5-step process, I would be very interested in your experience.