Please upgrade your browser.

Reflecting on Your Conflict Style

Reflecting on Your Conflict Style

Should mediators reflect on their own approach to conflict?



Full Transcript

Absolutely. You know when we train in therapy. There is a requirement to get your registration that you actually get on the receiving end, the receiving end of some therapy on the assumption that in order to fully understand the predicament and the sense of exposure that clients often feel in therapy is actually to be a client yourself. So when I did my, I did a four year masters in gestalt psycho therapy some years ago which involved attending therapy and they think I’m crazy. Attending therapy for five years or so – it is a life changing experience.


It’s a good idea to be aware at least of your own conflict style. I’d suggest to your viewers if you’re not already familiar with it, look up something like. It’s not sort of too searching or it doesn’t go too deep but take a look at something like the Thomas Killman modes of conflict instrument and just see where you live on that continuum. Are you somebody who avoids conflict? Are you somebody who tends to compromise? Do you tend to approach conflict competitive? In fact do you go for sort of collaborative and you know, collaborative outcomes. Just take a look at that and see what kind of a conflictor you are.


What’s your style like? Get a little bit of insight and it just helps you to understand when your button is pushed or when you run out of words in a mediation or sometimes I think this can happen in mediations is you feel a bit de-skilled. You actually feel, ‘Did I do training in mediation once? Do I know what this subject is about? You know, should I go and get my first steps in mediation book now? Right now it feels like I don’t know anything?’


Okay. I think there might be some psychological processes going on that we could speculate about. Lets draw a line and say, ‘Well you’re a mediator you’re there, you’re helping them to get a settlement. If you feel right now that you’re stuck for words and don’t know what to do. Like I said earlier you know, say to the clients. You know what, I feel a little stuck for words here. I don’t know what to do.’


Importantly you’re a accompanying them. You’re with them at that point. You know it does take a bit of confidence because you might find some clients would turn around and say, ‘Guy I’m paying you £2,000 to be here. £3,000 £4,000 whatever and you’re telling me you don’t know what to do?’ So you’ve got to choose your moment obviously as always and choose your form of words. But prepare to put that out there.


Yes, definitely an awareness of your own habitual patterns of relating and your own habital patterns of approaching conflict. At least something a long the lines of Thomas Killman is a very valuable thing for mediators to have.

About the mediator

Mike Talbot Profile Pic

Mike began his career researching the use of new technology in the workplace. At British Telecom’s research labs he worked on using voice control to work computers, and co-authored a book on the subject. He became interested in the use of computer speech technology for people with disabilities, especially looking at using technology to help speech-impaired people to communicate better. Communication then became something of a theme for Mike, wh... View Mediator