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Mediator Values

Mediator Values

Why are a mediator’s values particularly important?



Full Transcript

Yeah. I think that’s right. Our values and beliefs and purpose is extremely important. I think we sometimes mistake commitment to our fundamental values and beliefs with a commitment to specific approaches.


So why is it that I value being impartial or neutral? Well, that isn’t really my value. My value is to be honest, to be authentic, to be transparent as possible. As I’ve often said, all of our ethical guidelines, as professionals, come down to saying, “We are who we say we are. We will do what we say we will do.” It’s to be straight with people.


But it’s not like what’s particularly important to me is that I’m neutral, because I don’t even know what that means in this instance. Does that mean I have no beliefs? Does it mean I don’t like one side more than the other? Does it mean I don’t do something that might advantage one side more than the other? Does it mean that I have no structural relationship, means I would benefit with one side more than the other? I think if that’s the case, we fail.


As I say, the only meaning that really makes sense to me is what I would call “aspirational.” If it means that I don’t intend to advantage one side at the expense of the other, if I’m in a neutral role, whatever that means, again, then that makes sense. But otherwise . . . you know, I sometimes do things that help one party. I sometimes do things that help another. If I try so hard to be neutral, that I’m not going to help one side or another, that too helps one side versus another. Usually, it helps the most powerful side.

About the mediator

Bernie Mayer Profile Pic

Bernie Mayer, Ph.D. is Professor of Dispute Resolution at The Werner Institute, Creighton University. He is without doubt a leader in the field of conflict resolution. Considered by many in the field of conflict resolution as an icon, Bernie has over a quarter century of experience in the field and was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognized mediation and conflict resolution organization. Bernie originally trained as ... View Mediator