Good Qualities of a Mediator

As an advocate of organizational transparency, I get really ill when someone else acts as a mediator to resolve a hypothetical organizational issue based on numbers (or should I say results coming from surveys). What most organizations fail to realize is that there is a thin line between conflicts that only people who are involved knows. This is the black hole that a middle man might miss in resolving an issue. I’m not saying they are bad, because 90% of them are helpful in raising the red flag but, for the most part, if they do it wrong, it will just worsen the situation. So, how do we keep the ball rolling without deflating it?

  1. Be fair – Just because the numbers say a lot of hypothetical data, it doesn’t always mean the majority wins. It is best to take a look at each side of the story and consider both the minority and majority. This ensures that we are not being subjective even at the beginning of our investigation.
  2. Be open – When you conduct a focus group discussion, you will be hearing a lot things. Remember to be an ear, and not a mouth. Your opinion and insights are not important — their opinion and insights matter.
  3. Be consistent – While I appreciate organizations doing this as a collaborative effort to prevent any future conflict, it doesn’t make sense to do it only when we see a sign. Signs are good but, they are not triggers. Remember that it’s a group of people who doesn’t know you at all. They are people who has not built any trust yet. They are someone who are hesitant to say the real thing. Think about doing it once a year – you’ll get lesser trust and feedback. Think about doing it every month – you’ll make a friend and get more trust and feedback.
  4. Be it – Mean it by heart. Don’t do it for the sake of fulfilling your job. Have the intention to change the way the organization works. Have the intention to prevent future conflict. Have the intention to come up with a solution.

And when you’re done, put up a tent where everyone can sleep peacefully at night. Mediators are good, but if we don’t it right, we’re making situations worst.