I met with two people who had only know each other for a short time so their history together was brief. We are on a team together providing a service and support to a person going through a transition time. They had a need for clarity, security and understanding between them if their relationship was to continue as friends. The hurts that had occurred between them could not be ignored if they were to work on the team anymore.
They agreed to meet with me for a mediation session. We set the day/time to meet. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with each of them prior to the joint session to better understand their position and to explore what were underlying issues, needs, expectations that would help move us forward when we met. Each person was comfortable with me and trusted that the meeting would be a “safe” place for them to share their thoughts and feelings. Both were also somewhat apprehensive in coming to the table to talk together.
It is so common for all of us to dread something and then when we actually experience it the fear or anxiety we had imagined turned out to be far less that we expected. This was the case for them too.
Our time together lasted one hour. It could have taken longer, or it could have been shorter if needed. The process I used to allow them to share, listen, respond and clarify worked as predicted. There is no quick solution or answer when conflict is being addressed. However there is a way to work through it that is sure and definite. Each situation is different. One key to the quick resolution was they were both willing to try to resolve the conflict without having any guarantees that it would happen.
It is gratifying to be a facilitator of communication between individuals and groups. In the meeting I just described, (and in most of the mediations I lead,) I am an important part of the initiation of the dialogue then I fade into the background more and more as the discussion ensues. Except for an occasional re-framing of a point/position or to ensure we have covered all the issues that were shared, my role becomes a listener.
If you are experiencing conflict, contact me and give me a chance to help. Conflict is easier to prevent than to resolve. If you want to schedule me to come and do training for conflict prevention then let’s make that happen as well. Have hope!