In recent posts I've been writing about the benefits of mediation for resolving conflict where workplace relationships have to continue into the future. This scenario is very different from the situation where one party is leaving and the main issue is how much compensation should be paid. Where parties involved in conflict have to continue to work together, grievance, disciplinary processes and employment tribunals are extremely limited in what they can offer.
One of the key features I come across regularly in workplace conflict is the need for the problem to be recognised and acknowledged. There is a tendency, understandably, for employers to want the whole thing to go away, but all that really happens with that approach is that the pile of dirt brushed under the carpet gets bigger and bigger and trips everyone up.
In mediation we work at providing a means of recognising the behaviours of the past that have led to difficulties and looking at how those might be changed for a better future. It's crucial that there is genuine listening and understanding of how people feel. The power and effect of one party hearing the other party's point of view surprises me every time. This is the beginning of respectful communication which is essential for better relationships in the future.