Human Dynamics and Conversational Intelligence are two of the challenges of law practice not taught in law school. Basic neuroscience tells us that conversations affect the brain and impact our conversations with others. Our course Being HUMAN in the Practice of LAW addresses this omission in law training.
What are the qualities that contribute to being an effective mediator? Recent conversations with people considering careers as mediators, brought me back to this topic. How do I know if I have what it takes to be a mediator?
Ever been asked for advice by a friend or family member? Or seen a friend struggling with a bad situation and felt you could help them with some advice? Then you gave your advice and they didn’t follow it. Or worse, they seemed hurt or offended by what you said.
Along with the pleasures and challenges of gathering to celebrate with friends and family, holiday gatherings often provide some potentially risky moments to give advice to the people we care about.
How challenging it is to give feedback which improves the situation! This reminder came during my recent work with a workplace conflict made much worse by unskilled feedback.
What causes many of us to shy away from providing feedback to help ourselves and our co-workers to do better?
Conflict in a workplace is unavoidable. The ability to deal effectively with conflict is an important skill for everyone in a workplace and is essential for leadership.
Trying to avoid conflict is the least helpful method for dealing with workplace conflict. Rarely does conflict disappear when ignored. It is much more likely to escalate, to blow up a small problem into a much larger event.
Behaving with respect for others and being treated with respect seems simple and common sense. In extreme situations it may be easy to identify harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, or other human rights violations which could indicate a lack of respect in the workplace. Closer to the dividing line it is not so easy to distinguish respect from a lack of respect.
Caucus-only mediation has become increasingly popular in many mediations for business, insurance, even more personal situations such as estate and workplace disputes. Recent research shows that the caucus-only mediation approach has negative consequences. As an experienced mediator, that research conclusion was not a surprise to me.
How not to be stupid is a subject that is smart to think about. Stupidity is not lack of intelligence but a symptom of intelligence being overridden in a complex environment.
As a special gift at this year-end, let’s give ourselves the freedom to be wrong. Get unstuck from the pressure of being right. Go ahead and make mistakes.
When I talk to people involved in a conflict, often both tell me they feel powerless. It is a very common perception.