The qualities of a mediator

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The conflict results from the confrontation of the needs, interests and values of people. Of course, some values are shared by most of people while some others are accepted only by few. These values are not static; they evolve and are subject to constant adjustments. The purpose of the conflict is to change the power struggle that oppose the parties involved. The conflict is normal and part of the social life. Its interest is to weld the common identity of a group. Mediation is a method of conflict resolution based on the principle of otherness. Confusion must be eliminated here; mediation does not consist in confronting the person but only his behavior.

At the individual level, the conflict is a constant source of evolution of human beings. The mediator respects, as part of his mission, three fundamental rules of communication whose purpose is to secure and enhance the parties by accepting their values and finally by being pedagogical and positive.

[edit] Respect of Rules and Values

The mediator, by adopting a listening position, a particular posture, a neutrality and his complete implication, must be sure to reassure the parties by providing them the means of an appeased communication, respectful of the rules they have accepted while the mediator, as for him, will have to respect the values of the parties, even if it sounds unacceptable.

During the preliminary interview, the mediator, in order to avoid the symmetrical overbid -which is a characteristic of the conflict- that will inevitably occur between the parties during the following meetings-, must master the communication techniques that enable him to disarm the conflictual intensity by recognizing the good intentions and the awkwardness of his interlocutors. The mediator offers them a way to progress through a mode of alleviated communication and provides his assistance to ensure the respect of these rules.

Securing the communication of the parties is also made by the recognition of their values, without any taboos, without moral or value judgment. The mediator must not show himself neither shocked nor hurt, be 100 percent welcoming. Of course, he must first wonder whether his task of a mediator can be fulfilled by considering his personal beliefs and values. He also ensures, by appropriating the discourse of the parties, although this one is unacceptable, to recognize them in their respective legitimacy.

[edit] The Mediator is a Pedagogue

Through his position, the mediator must excel in pedagogy, both in his expressions and behaviors which ones must be irreproachable. The emotional confusion which is present in the parties' minds is one of the constant of the conflict. The consequence of this posture is likely to enable the parties to overcome their sufferings, wounds and resentments. By making each party aware that none of them possesses bad intentions, but only awkwardness, the mediator purges the emotional state.

By the quality of involvement and the form of the thanks, the mediator calls out, and therefore values, the other’s intelligence. The parties understand that their choice of mediation, freely consented, requires a significant divestiture of themselves and to question some of their values and principles. Mediation allows them to consider a new perspective and access to the construction of a better relational world. The mediator is the referent of the other. Mediation opens a broader perspective of reflection, more creative and responsible, based on otherness, respectful of others and highly pedagogical.

[edit] The Mediator is Positive

The mediator must present a positive mood in front of any challenges and must be very vigilant not to get polluted by the bad mood of the parties in conflict who are naturally overwhelmed by the emotional confusion which is the consequence of the conflictual fatalism. It is only by a serious and repeated training and a necessary detachment that the expression of this emotional confusion will be heard: it is irrational, confused, repetitive and violent.

By taking this distance, the mediator, like Rene Descartes, proposes a discourse in which he makes the parties aware that the stereotypes, fixed ideas, prejudices, beliefs and values are all filters disturbing the quality of the reasoning. The valorization of the other will result from the phenomenon of recognition of his legitimacy, good intentions and awkwardness. The mediator must constantly keep in mind the purpose and target, i.e. to obtain an acceptable consensus for both parties. He must make the other admit that the rule win-win does not a priori exist; the party must consciously accept to relinquish a part of him. Initially, the party will feel a lost but to finally gain.

The mediator is a professional who takes charge of the conflict and must be fully involved. By his personal qualities and knowledge, he must steer the parties towards otherness. He is positioned in leadership and encourages the parties to unconsciously imitate him. He generates creativity and enables the unimaginable discussion.

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