Workplace conflict may be the closest any worker in your organization will come to an emergency on the job. The organization can become responsive to workplace conflict by supporting a peer mediation program. Peer mediation can be taught to a group of workers who in turn set up mediation sessions for employees in conflict. The goal of the mediation program is to reduce the incidence of serious workplace conflicts and to teach employees how to resolve conflict before problems, escalate into violence, hamper the work environment or reduce workplace productivity. Peer Mediation session can have four stages of activity or discussions to resolve conflict. Stage one identifies for the participants the rules of program or how the session will be conducted. Stage two allows the participants to air their concerns without interruption so the participants and the mediators can understand the source of the conflict. Stage three allows the participants to speak to each other so each can put themselves in the other persons shoes. Stage four allows for the participants to agree on possible solutions. The mediators do not design the solutions but assist the participants in the solution phase. The process stresses the need for confidentiality and should end with a binding agreement which can be revisited if future conflict arises.
Organizations should invest in mediation programs because the benefits of having a program cannot be measured. Leading people involves taking care of their needs. Since we spend so much time at work we should have the best work environment possible. Having a workforce that is educated on how to avoid conflict will payoff in the long run.