Tips from a Mediator
The ending of a relationship, be it personal or professional, is often a very emotional time. One or both may feel very angry toward the other. A mediator is a neutral central person who offers a means of managing and resolving conflict. Here, we give you our top tips on managing conflict in both a matrimonial and a professional setting:
- Ensure each party has equal opportunity to set out their feelings and be heard.
- Share all information and documentation.
- Discourage a retaliatory response and try to help each party to acknowledge that it is how the other one is feeling even if they do not agree those feelings are warranted.
- Acknowledge strong feelings can help repair channels of communication towards reaching a solution.
- Explore in detail how a suggestion could actually work. For example, one person may be saying, in very strong terms, they want the matrimonial home to be sold but when the option is explored with figures and calculations it becomes clear that there would then not be enough money or mortgage capacity for the children to be suitably housed.
- If children are involved, focus on the children themselves. Either parent can start to speak about the contact they want to have or they don’t want the other have but a question such as “tell me what Brian is like and what he is interested in?” can diffuse a tense atmosphere and encourage parents to realise it is their child they are talking about rather than a contact arrangement.
- Consider the alternatives of how much the legal route may cost them and how long it may take.
Similar to the breakdown in the marital relationship, mediation can be highly beneficial in the breakdown of the employment relationship. By introducing a neutral third party aimed at diffusing tensions and finding a solution beneficial for both the employer and employee, it is a great method of finding a middle-ground where everyone walks away satisfied with the outcome.
The purpose of mediation is to find a way forward, rather than dwell on the past actions of the parties involved. This aims at focusing the mind on finding a solution of the parties in a calm environment before matters escalate and wind up in a court or tribunal.
However, there are wide ranging differencing between using mediation for family matters compared to employment cases. For starters, many employment cases are purely monetary based. Both parties are aiming to ‘win’ the case over the other. Although, this can be true for marital cases, there can also be a sense that the parties aim to have their opponents ‘lose’ the case, even if it is to their own detriment. This can make mediation more difficult in family matters compared to their employment counterparts.
SA Law understand the differences required in mediation techniques depending on the scenario and can provide the support and direction needed to ensure the best outcome is achieved for all its clients.