Mediation is a powerful leadership communication tool to smooth the way through disagreements.
Learning to successfully respond to conflict helps a leader learn that conflict can be very good for an organization. For instance, conflict can:
- Help to measure unrest in a group of employees
- Point out blind spots in programs, activities or policies
- Measure the level of interest in topics or issues
A leader who recognizes these problems and becomes a mediator to help others work through their issues becomes a valuable asset to the organization.
It is important to understand some key ideas about conflict. A study of conflict by the Harvard Negotiating Project made some meaningful observations:
- Conflict is a natural process, part of the nature of all relationships
- Conflict can be managed through effective communications
Most problems begin as specks on the horizon, and leaders should not ignore them.
By taking action early, the small problem doesn’t become a big issue, or grow to a crisis. Take action using mediation to keep conflict from becoming an overwhelming problem.
Mediation is very effective. Even kids can do it. A peer mediation program in an elementary school in Lansing, Michigan, decreased the number of school fights from five per week to five per year.