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Reflecting on a Party’s Position

Reflecting on a Party’s Position

How does reflection on a party’s position help overcome resistance to settle?

 

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It’s to help them to feel less resistant to the mediator. It’s to help them feel that they have an alliance and have built a rapport with the mediator. It’s to help them feel empathised with. ‘How can I work with you so you and I as a partnership can actually get that as well? All the time me keeping my impartiality. So I’m going to tell you that I’ll do that and I’ll form as strong a partnership with you as I can in order to number one, make sure you get the point across that you’re furiously angry with this guy. Number two, to make sure you get some kind of settlement out of this today or we leave the door open to that settlement, but Number three, I’m going to do the same with them as well. You know, so it’s not that I’m getting on your side. I’m getting beside you, rather than on your side. I’m going to do the same with the other guy and we’ll form a partnership. Me with you, and me with him or her and we’ll see if the three of us can put our heads together and actually come up with something none of us has thought of yet.’

 

The other thing about stuck-ness it can be that the mediator tells themself, that they’ve got the answer. That’s another thing that can lead to stuck-ness. So it’s both pushing too greatly against people’s resistance so they build the wall so high that you can’t see over it. The mediator going in there thinking, ‘I’m the expert here. I know what the solution to this is going to be.’ I hear mediators say this – not our mediators of course Aled. But I hear mediators saying ‘Yeah I’ve got this dispute. I’ve got this position statement here, I’ve got the agreement to mediate.’ If it’s the workplace you had a word with the HR manager who’s referring you. ‘Yeah it’s one of these I can see what the answer is to this one.’ I think that’s a big mistake. Before you’ve even got in your car or on the train to go to the case and do the case. You think you know what the answer is. Do not do that because that is the first step on the road to getting stuck with that client.

About the mediator

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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