Tips for Mediating Conflict (3 min)

Tips for Mediating Conflict

Conflict mediation is an industry in itself and there are many different approaches that can be taken. The first port of call for handling conflict in an organization is often the Human Resources department. This is often where the skills lie within a company for effectively mediating conflict. Here are some tips HR professionals have to share…

Fourteen members of Forbes Human Resources Council provided the advice they have for HR professionals when they are called on to address or mediate conflict resolution between employees. Here is what they had to say:

  1. Go in with an open mind – listen to each party’s version of the issue. Ask what they think should be done and try to understand where their perspective is coming from.
  2. Be an advocate – seek to coach employees to find their own solutions rather than solving their problems for them.
  3. Ask authentic questions – this helps you to stay neutral and encourages the other parties to stop, think and understand their problem better. Getting people to reflect and discuss the issue will help them find a solution for themselves.
  4. Remember you are the solution – getting both parties to agree on a common goal to work towards helps everyone stay focused on solutions.
  5. Understand interpersonal effectiveness – as a mediator, it helps to get familiar with different people’s communication styles and blocks, to listen actively in order to understand each  person’s position and to offer ongoing support until the issues are resolved.
  6. Hear everyone out – talk with each person individually before holding a meeting with everyone together.  This helps each person feel heard and more open to seeking a solution. 
  7. Encourage open communication – allow both sides to express their viewpoint fully so that all the relevant information can be gathered to help resolve the issue.
  8. Genuinely care – it is obvious whether or not a mediator is genuinely concerned with finding the best outcome for all involved.
  9. Help parties come up with their own solutions – the most successful resolutions come about when the parties involved come up with their own solution to the conflict.
  10. Do not overcomplicate it keep to the facts and stay focused on finding a solution. The process does not need to be complicated if it is carried out effectively.
  11. Reframe the situation – help the conflicting parties to see the situation from a different perspective and to refocus on the bigger picture.
  12. Stay focused – keep conversations focused on the central issue and resolve one topic at a time.
  13. Follow up post-meeting – after a conflict mediation, be sure to follow up with all parties to ensure the resolution holds and check if any further support is needed.
  14. Coach for healthy conflict – healthy conflict is based on respect for others and their unique worldview, building common goals and accepting compromise.