How to position yourself as a mediator in a conflict
And to feel credible in this position
If like me, you don’t like conflict but find it necessary, I hope you will find yourself in these lines.
Because from my young life experience, I know that repressing states of mind is neither good for ourselves (whether in terms of mental or physical health), nor for the people involved in the debate.
So I focused on how to manage these conflicts rather than running away from them.
Because running away from conflict is to deny the possibilities of solutions that arise from it.
Here is my point of view on people who take on the role of mediator, whether on my own initiative, by obligation (sometimes we are chosen to arbitrate the conflict), or by observation.
Adopt the right tone of voice.
The tone taken by the mediator is essential in a conflict where often anger, frustration, and aggressiveness can take precedence (but also withdrawal, humiliation, and so on).
This is why the tone of the referee must be calm to counterbalance the atmosphere.
Speaking calmly also means slowing down the pace in order to measure our words and choose them carefully (in the midst of revolted souls).
It must neither fall into moralization nor humiliation at the risk of becoming an integral part of the conflict and fuelling it in an unproductive way (and God knows that we sometimes feel like lecturing people though…).
Invite to exchange, sharing and listening.
Let the emotions express themselves.
Ah, the emotions! Let’s talk about them. They take up so much space in our exchanges, much more than we would like to. And as a great hypersensitive, I can tell you that it’s an everyday job to learn how to master them.
Difficult to repress them in a conflictual context. This is why we tend to flee conflicts (or provoke them, depending on the character). To avoid this emotional carnage (or to force their expression angrily and aggressively).
On the other hand, emotions are bound to be in disagreement. And it is our emotional intelligence that will teach us how to dose them.
Because everything is in the gauge of these emotions. So as not to overreact, and thus provoke any possibility of dialogue and solutions (and fall into drama, again), or on the contrary minimize them to better repress them and keep the problem well within us to ruminate for days on end on the subject… (we know).
Make a deal.
It should be implied, but sometimes it needs to be said aloud.
This deal is nothing more or less than listening to the other person’s opinion once one has expressed one’s own. For the exchange to be fair and bilateral.
Otherwise, it is an endless conflict, where there is no room for exchange and where ego (and our energy) prevails.
If the situation permits, encourage humor.
Humor is to be handled with care in a conflict. It is already touchy on social networks where freedom of expression fuses, but in a conflict, it is yet another face that humor can take.
A conflict situation may seem comical from an external point of view (when you can be objective and take enough distance, you see the exchange as an emotional drama. Although we like #weknowit drama, it can also be very energy-intensive).
Humor can defuse the situation. But it can also make it worse.
Humor should not be used in the form of mockery, but rather to play down the situation and calm the emotions of people in conflict.
Clarify the disagreement objectively.
Pointing out disagreements without aggressiveness.
We appeal to our analytical mind. There is no need to have a doctorate in psychology, the trick is to listen carefully to the points of view exchanged and to highlight them.
One conflict can sometimes lead to another, which is why it is essential to bring the protagonists back to the essence of the conflict and the points of disagreement. Otherwise, it turns into personal reproaches that go beyond the initial subject (which we are supposed to resolve, let’s remember).
Reformulate to clarify the situation objectively.
To do so, simply rephrase the points of disagreement. But to reformulate the arguments (more than personal opinions) that have been brought to light.
This makes it possible to take a little distance from the conflict, to force the protagonists to understand its stakes and the positions of each one.
And taking a step back from the situation also means highlighting one’s own arguments.
Sometimes you have to be objective again about a situation to see if your arguments are viable or not. Although subjectivity will always have its place in a conflict (we are not robots).
Have a solution-oriented mindset.
We tend to forget this, but finding solutions is essential in conflict. Otherwise, you will have understood that it is endless.
This phase invites the people involved to question themselves, to call upon a little benevolence (the one that remains at least) and empathy.
These solutions are often under the implementation of compromises that allow both parties to reach an agreement (to start again on a good basis #bisounoursland).