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Four Steps to Being a Great Mediator

Tags:  Reputation, Mediation, Conflict resolution, Co-Workers

While part of being a great leader means having a number of skill sets, mediation is one that might be overlooked. However, it is a skill that most anyone can use from time to time as it provides you with the ability to intervene and hopefully resolve a dispute. This can be particularly helpful for parents with teenage (and even younger) children.


Understanding how to properly mediate conflict in order to resolve differences and come to a satisfactory conclusion means that the mediator needs to follow a process that is neutral and fair to the parties involved. Here are four steps which can help you to become a great mediator.

Acknowledge the conflict and set up a meeting.

When someone comes to you to mediate, their expectation is that you will be neutral and take the conflict seriously. While most team leaders prefer that their team resolve their own issues, it sometimes takes a third party to intervene.


The purpose of a meeting is to not make judgment, but rather to gather facts. This can either be done separately with each individual, particularly if there is a history of conflict between the two. Then a secondary meeting or joint problem-solving session would be held. Or just a single meeting with all concerned can be conducted.

Manage a fair discussion that focuses on the problem not the person.

Your role as mediator is to control the meeting by making sure the two parties stay calm and discuss their issues. No one individual should dominate the conversation. Your role is to lay the ground rules and to keep them focused on the problem. No pointing fingers or name calling.


Determine individual interests and explore solutions without finger pointing.


The goal of the meeting should be to find solutions to their problem and to help them understand how to problem-solve any future disputes or interpersonal conflicts. Help them to identify multiple alternatives in a nonjudgmental manner.


The primary role of a mediator is to discover where there are mutual interests and where there is conflict. Your goal should be to help them find areas of agreement and commonality in order to lessen the rift between them.


By understanding where their similarities and differences lie, you will have a better chance of helping them to determine mutually agreeable solutions to their conflict.

Agree to a solution and follow-up procedures.

Once the conflict has been resolved, the mediation is not over. Don't leave it to the two feuding parties to follow through on the solution or to work out the details. Your role as a mediator is to also help them determine a specific plan of action and a method to ensure they follow through. An additional meeting and/or progress reports can be helpful.


In the role of leader you may encounter times when you have to intercede and help your team to resolve their differences. Being a great mediator is a useful tool.

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