Liz Law

Working together for positive ways to resolve disputes

Culture is very much a part of the workplace and when disputes arise between people, they usually affect those who work or live in close proximity. Such ongoing situations can seriously undermine the smooth running of your business or organization whether commercial or third sector – and this is where Mediation comes in. It is a process that values people as individuals and their roles within the workplace and aims to bring about positive outcomes and working solutions.

As an energetic mediator since 1997 working in a wide variety of contexts, my services are usually sought where conflicts have become entrenched. I work together with those affected by a dispute to explore positive ways to resolve all types of complaints in the work situation. With sound approaches to encourage and facilitate people to engage with the challenges facing them, Mediation is a healthy process in that it encourages participants to take responsibility for working through issues in a safe and productive environment. It develops in stages from discussions about the conflict, to engaging with ideas of what people want to happen, to moving on to what is workable and acceptable to all parties involved. Mediation is likely to take a reasonable amount of time and be cost effective.

Mediation is the healthy option for organisations large and small as it encourages people to be actively involved in resolving their own conflicts.

Workplace mediation follows similar processes:

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is a person who works with people involved in a conflict to help them realise what has caused the conflict situation. In addition, to find out what needs to happen for each person to move forward and to identify what might block their ability to draw a line under the event or events.

Mediation is not about taking sides or punishing – it is about respecting other people without undervaluing personal needs. It encourages people to learn from the past, and also focuses on the future by helping people to develop strategies in the event of disagreements.

Mediators do not resolve conflict, they facilitate people involved in conflict to identify and resolve a difficult situation by themselves. This ownership is core to why mediation is successful.

Mediation can be magic but what constrains it?

My view of the person

People change when they are forced, given permission or have access to new ideas, context or people. When hope is present positive change can occur. When there is a belief in the possibility of change a holistic change may develop.

My core beliefs about people are that fundamentally people are good - it is circumstances that diminish this goodness. It is possible to draw out the integrity in people and accept we all have a darker less attractive side to our character. Through honesty with ourselves and where appropriate others we can grow in congruence and wellbeing.
In my experience, most people are trying to live a life that has meaning - what that is changes with context, values and needs. Needs always include respect, belonging, a future for themselves and especially for their loved ones.

My model of supervision practice

I work as a supervisor with people who are involved with mediation and conflict resolution. I have experience across sectors with special emphasis on workplace, landlord/tenant mediation, community, peace and justice and faith mediation.

As a supervisor I create a quiet space so the supervisee can feel confident and safe speaking with me. I listen, usually empathise and seek clarity. I give time and use boundaries to enable the supervisee to reflect on their practice and skills in a constructive and emotionally intelligent manner. This is to enable them to work with their client group in a healthy, sustainable way addressing difficulties and conflict in an appropriate and constructive style driven by congruence and professionalism.

The skills and interventions I use often are listening, intuition, challenge, humour and an interrogative style. I am practical and task orientated rather than theory driven.
The theories that inform my practice are person centered and the key worker practice model. This is augmented by my mediation and conflict resolution practice since 1997 and counselling experience.

Frequent outcomes for my clients are that they feel empowered in their skills, affirmed as well as challenged in their practice and they believe they can deliver their mediation competently.

A definition of supervision

"Supervision is a management tool to help the organisation monitor and improve the worker's quality of work. It is a means by which the organisation can provide practical and emotional support to staff and volunteers." John Gray