The majority of people are not comfortable being in conflict with one another. We naturally prefer a state of equilibrium. Sickness and significant stress can and does result from unresolved conflict.
When conflict occurs in a workplace or organisation, the impact is huge. If it can be successfully worked out without the need for someone independent, that is the second best outcome - next to not actually having reached that point in the first place!
Question which is often asked, "what if I go to mediation and it doesn't work?"
Short answer is, in all likelihood, through the mediation process you will have:
- resolved some, if not all of the issues
- a more informed understanding of the issues.
- significantly reduced the likelihood of escalation
Often organisations like schools and not for profit organisations which operate on tight budgets, are often resistant to get someone external to assist with a conflict situation because of the perceived cost.
This needs to be weighed up against the risk and cost if if doesn't resolve without external support. In my role as a mediator who assists organisations with disputes I am acutely aware of the importance of early intervention and resolution. I suspect the financial and reputation cost far outweighs any short term cost involved in a mediation process, especially if lawyers have been required or if the issues have made it onto social media or news outlets.
These potential risks and benefits make having mediation as one of the early resolution strategies a no brainer!