Any professional mediator will outline that their profession requires a delicate balancing act.
In a multifaceted field where conflict resolution cases are brought to their attention, they have to showcase a range of characteristics and attributes that makes them a valuable asset to any room.
Remaining Impartial Operator
The very second a professional mediator develops an image that they have a preference to one party over another is the moment that the process breaks down. Impartiality is arguably the greatest weapon that these practitioners have at their disposal, working towards a resolution that is accepted by both sides. Emotions cannot come into the equation, nor an ability to be persuaded or influenced because of an emotional appeal. To be successful in a conflict resolution environment, everyone seated at the table must understand that they are the impartial body at all times.
Perception of Personal Dynamics
When a professional mediator can gauge tone, body language, mood and key signals that inform the individual about the personal dynamics inside a room, that is a major skill that will be valuable for their performance. It is an element of the role that can be classified under risk assessment or emotional intelligence, determining when a participant is about to become overwhelmed by the exercise and pull out altogether. Even a strategic coffee break or delay of proceedings can be valuable in this example, reading the temperature of negotiations and deciding what type of terrain is best to progress further talks.
Being Prepared & Informed
A professional mediator who is not aware of key facts will quickly lose the respect of the clients involved in the matter. The same principle applies to their willingness to be involved in the case, showing up on time, updating participants on prevalent details and offering all parties multiple options at their disposal. Those operators who turn up late, make simple errors and keep people in the dark will struggle to reach an outcome. Given that the mediation process is voluntary, there will be little incentive to continue under those conditions.
Having an Approachable Disposition
Aggressive, antagonistic and even passive characteristics don’t always compute for a professional mediator in this type of environment. While there can be clear friction between the different sets of clients, this participant has to showcase their approachability as people confide sensitive details to them and have to invest a level of trust that they would not normally demonstrate. Illustrating a respectful and friendly disposition is vital in this space, ensuring that the dispute is managed by an individual who does not take themselves too seriously and wants everyone involved to achieve a suitable outcome.
Keeping Joined Objectives Front of Mind
Amid all of the positions and demands that are taken with a degree of animosity building, a professional mediator who keeps the joined objectives front of mind will manage to make more progress than their compatriots in the field. There will be different points of view and accounts of key details from one individual to the next, but there can be shared goals in mind that will help to expedite the process and make tangible gains that will override those disagreements. Not being bogged down by the conflict and keeping the focus on the joined objectives is a central characteristic that will define the success or failure of a practitioner in this industry.
The end target for a professional mediator is to write up an official agreement that is formalised, legally cleared and binding for all parties. No two operators in this setting will apply the same techniques and strategies, but they will need a series of skills to manage these results on a consistent basis.