Conflict resolution doesn’t come naturally to most people. Webster’s dictionary defines mediation as ‘the act or process of mediating; especially intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise (Italics added).
A good mediator hears what a party has to say, and, more importantly, listens for what is not said. Listening improves your ability to understand others, even if you can’t agree with everything others say or do, your willingness to listen demonstrates respect.
The term “Alternative Dispute Resolution” sounds like a New Age trend, but I promise you, it’s not. What ADR does is allow the parties, with the help of a mediator, to come to their own resolution for civil disputes, rather than put the whole matter in the hands of a judge or a jury who doesn’t know or care about the people involved in the action. I’ve undertaken mediations that settled six months after the initial session. Myself and the parties were heavily invested in the mediation process, and we all knew they had a lot to lose if the dispute went to trial and the jury didn’t see things their way. In such situations, it is critical to apply a ‘never give up” disposition.
Mediation is the only time in civil litigation that the parties control the outcome of their case. Consider mediation your best alternative to litigation.
Before you leave the matter in the hands of a judge or jury, I would recommend that you ask yourself these three simple questions:
- How do you see the situation?
- What do you want to see happen?
- What’s going to have to take place for that to happen?