Friday, September 19, 2008

Create Space for Emotions in Mediation

A recent newspaper article encouraged workers to use their emotional intelligence at work. The idea was that we should not hold all our emotions “in” because if we do so, we may not be able to build relationships with the people around us day in and day out.

Also, for those who follow NFL football, Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, who just finished a 2 game suspension for punching a teammate (Lucas) in practice, reported that he and the player he punched now have a cordial and building friendship. Previously, these two players were seen to be at odds. So what changed? Smith says that he previously did not like Lucas because he believed that Lucas did not like him. (Same from Lucas.) However, after a team meeting where everyone had a chance to say their piece. It turned out that Smith and Lucas did not like each other because they thought the other did not like him. Talk about a self fulfilling prophesy. With the air cleared the team and teammates came together.

Thus, if we take these two ideas together and add them to our work as mediators, then be sure you check in with participants on an emotional level in mediation. Consider how you can create a comfortable space for participants to express how they feel and then “manage” the emotions if necessary. Mediation in the litigated case is often the participant’s “day in court” so it can be essential to provide an opportunity for emotions to help with the resolution.

No comments: