PREPARE FOR ANGER – IT HAPPENS
We have looked at Anger Management in Arbitration and now we switch the focus to Anger Management in Mediation. The two processes are different – Arbitration is more formal and Mediation is less structured but Anger is common to both because this is Dispute Resolution and feelings, tensions and hidden agendas are at work.
The Mediator needs to be alert and anticipate moments of tension and have strategies for addressing them. It could be the rivalry of two businesspeople with a list of mutual complaints. Or a Husband and Wife where one party feels cheated by the other’s affair and comes to the mediation wanting to land a blow – metaphorically – and take control of the process.
Have you given this sufficient thought? Might it be best to avoid “all parties round one table” and instead engage in a Kissinger type caucas between the parties to enable you to touch on sensitive issues – just one on one? This allows the parties to “sound off” privately and allow you to begin the process of moving from Positions to Interests. How are you assessing the major participants and their agendas? Sometimes best to merely note for future discussion the issues that are toxic as you try to build a rapport with the parties.
So you are listening and prodding and assessing as you build up a picture. And, of course, you will be alert to the tensions + anticipate the explosive outbursts. In a way you want them to be aired as you need to lance the boil of the big issues – and here your selection of words is so important – sensitive, sincere and agenda setting. The Parties will have a plan but you, too, must have a plan which you will amend as the mediation develops.
“It seems to me your animosity towards your business partner had its roots in your view that as between the two of you, you were the more important to the Business. Is that right? What were the strengths and weaknesses of the partner. I guess he did make a contribution? – you were together for 15 years”
EPISODE 2 – 27 JULY 2022