When you run a business, occasional conflicts with other parties – including suppliers, vendors, employees, contractors and other business entities – are inevitable.
Conflict actually has the potential to provoke change and growth, but that’s only true when the conflict is constructive, not destructive.
What’s the difference between destructive vs. constructive conflict?
Destructive conflicts are marked by personal hostilities, a focus that’s solely on personal interest and a lot of negativity about the potential for a fair or amicable resolution. This kind of conflict can escalate quickly and lead to serious reputation and organizational damage.
By comparison, constructive conflicts are characterized by a positive outlook and a cooperative approach where disagreements are addressed with the goal of finding solutions that benefit everyone.
How can mediation shift the tone of your disagreement?
Mediation starts by identifying the underlying issues that contribute to the conflict. That might be any combination of personal disputes, differing goals or miscommunication. The mediator, as a third-party neutral, can then shift the focus from “the blame game” toward a collaborative approach that’s focused on “finding a way to resolve the problem.”
Mediation empowers both sides to be active participants in the solutions by creating a safe and confidential space for negotiations. Once both sides realize that they can each contribute to a solution (rather than having a resolution imposed from above) they may take ownership of the problems and become more committed to ending their conflict.
One of the most significant advantages of mediation is its ability to preserve business relationships and create a foundation for future collaborations. Maintaining your company’s relationships can be crucial for your long-term success.