If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door, and if you fail to address such employee concerns, you’ve failed as a leader. Mediation skills can defuse tensions and get everyone back to work.
Mediation can be effective at allowing parties to vent their feelings and fully explore their grievances. Working with parties together and sometimes separately, mediators can try to help them hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and non-binding.
Leaders who have engaged in negotiation training likely already have acquired good mediation skills that position them to successfully resolve conflicts. But there are notable differences between the role of a professional mediator and the role of a leader mediating an employee dispute.
First, unlike an actual mediator, you’ll have to live with the outcome of the dispute on a daily basis. Your personal allegiances and objectives may lead you to have strong opinions about the best result. In addition, the negotiated solution must satisfy the interests of the broader organization as well as those of the disputants. For these reasons, leaders need to adapt mediation skills to their purposes.
There are some mediation skills and techniques that can help bring about resolution.
Focus on the problem. Rather than blaming particular individuals, identify the issues at stake, and invite others to join you in thinking about solutions.
Engage in joint problem solving. Because others may view a given situation quite differently than you do, start off the discussion by asking open-ended questions and testing your assumptions.
Promote effective feedback. Help your co-workers learn how to give good feedback so they can express their concerns in a positive manner rather than letting them stew.
Organizations have long recognized the value of hiring professional mediators to help resolve disputes. More and more, managers have begun to also see value in securing mediation training for themselves and their employees. Although there are times when the services of an unbiased, professional mediator are needed, there may also be instances in which employees … Read More
In this popular program, you will acquire the practical skills and techniques for facilitating negotiations between disputing parties. From family and employment matters to public policy and business disagreements, you will discover effective ways to settle differences and mediate disputes across a variety of contexts.
This program will provide you with core mediation skills and training … Read More
If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported.
… Read More
In 2009, we collected many types of curriculum materials from teachers and trainers who attended the Mediation Pedagogy Conference. We received general materials about classes on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as well as highly specific and idiosyncratic units like Conflict Resolution through Literature: Romeo and Juliet and a negotiating training package for female managers … Read More
In the business world, workplace disputes are all too common. Consider these real-life conflict scenarios: a group of employees who, working overtime to make up for staff shortages, complain to their manager that they aren’t getting paid enough for the extra time. A colleague confides about his boss’s verbal abuse. Two employees argue openly about … Read More
Suppose you want to hire a mediator to help you resolve a conflict that you’re having with an individual or a company, but for various reasons, meeting face-to-face would be difficult. That’s where online mediation comes in.
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At one time or another, most of us have found ourselves coping with difficult coworkers. We might experience flare-ups over workload, funding, or personality issues, to name just a few sources of workplace conflict. The experience of coping with difficult coworkers can be extremely stressful. The following conflict negotiation skills can help you address this … Read More
If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a turf war. Your administrative assistant is upset because the HR director won’t approve the … Read More
In the workplace, negotiations with coworkers over issues such as project assignments, departmental funding, and vacation requests can sometimes flare into conflicts. When they do, the experience can be stressful, and the organizational outcomes sometimes suffers as a result.
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A few years ago, Stephen B. Goldberg was asked to serve as a facilitator for and adviser to a corporate team from a telecommunications firm that was preparing to negotiate with five other telecom companies on the division of radio spectrum for cellular telephone relay satellites.
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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School held a panel discussion following a screening of My Neighborhood, a Just Vision documentary. The podcast is now available.
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This presentation by Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Prof. Robert Mnookin is the fourth seminar exploring the role of urban planning in negotiation, co-sponsored by the Middle East Negotiation Initiative (MENI) at the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School are pleased to present a screening of “My Neighborhood,” a new Just Vision documentary. A panel discussion will be held after the screening with Julia Bacha, director/producer of My Neighbourhood.
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Yaakov Katz, a correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and Jane’s Defence Weekly, and Prof. Robert Mnookin, the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will discuss Unilateral Initiatives in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.
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Tucked away in an idyllic corner of Maine is a summer camp that features many traditional American activities: singing around bonfires, flag raising ceremonies, Color Wars, and chilly dips in the lake. Less ordinary, however, are the daily dialogue sessions, where Israeli and Palestinian campers heatedly discuss their identities, homelands, politics, and pain.
Meet Seeds of … Read More
Adapted from “Resolve Employee Conflicts with Mediation Techniques,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a … Read More
To better understand the teaching needs of the mediation community, Negotiation Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation (NP@PON) organized a Mediation Pedagogy Conference in May of 2009. In advance of the conference, an 18-question online survey was sent to the 175 conference presenters and registered participants. The 75% response rate allowed us to illuminate important … Read More
“The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is a renowned source of expertise in the field,” reported the Boston Globe today in its story, “Iraq latest crucible for Harvard mediation.” Reporting on the work done by conflict resolution professionals at Conflict Management Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the report notes that “The blood not spilled … Read More
Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Professor Guhan Subramanian discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. This discussion was held at the 3 day executive education workshop for senior executives at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Guhan Subramanian is the Professor of Law and Business at the Harvard Law School and Professor of Business Law at the Harvard Business School.