Mediation Won’t Solve Bullying Conflict
Do you have a workplace conflict problem that is escalating and threatening productivity, harmony, and your bottom line? If so, you are probably asking “Should I bring in a mediator?”
The answer is, probably not. Mediation works best when it focuses on substantive conflicts, where workers disagree on goals and issues, or procedural conflict, where workers have the same goal but have disagreements over strategies to accomplish the goal. But bullying and abrasive behaviors are types of affective conflict, which is interpersonal conflict rather than process conflict.
Mediation: Why Companies Use it
Mediation is a valuable and valid conflict-resolution tool for some kinds of conflict. When both parties are serious about a negotiation, then use an excellent mediator, and proceed with good faith toward a brokered solution.
A brokered solution doesn’t work when there is interpersonal conflict. The stakes are high. Emotions are out of control. There is a victim and an aggressor. Putting them into a situation aiming for a brokered solution is simply unrealistic and unreasonable. Victims are afraid, bullies have a strong sense of entitlement and are willing to bully anyone to get what they want and expect. What needs to happen is specialized conflict consulting wherein the consultant works with both the victim and the aggressor to change behavior. Behavior change is what ends the conflict.
So, when you are worrying about what to do with that conflict, remember, you have more choices than mediation (or worse, litigation), you can pick the conflict consulting alternative. For more information, contact me.