Mediation at Work: When Should a Mediator Make a Proposal?
As my readers know, I love to see people using mediation techniques to resolve conflicts in their workplace. This month, I highlight the use of a mediator proposal by Becky Bellino, the USTA Adult League Coordinator for Long Island, in assisting in the rescheduling of a league tennis match.
Generally, the role of a mediator is to facilitate communication and problem-solving by the parties to a conflict. However, there are times when negotiations reach an impasse, and the mediator can best help the parties reach resolution by making a proposal that is fair and addresses the parties' interests.
In this instance, one team did not have enough players to field a line-up in a match scheduled over a holiday weekend and requested the other team to reschedule. (The alternative would be to forfeit the match which would mean that none of the players from either team would have an opportunity to play.) The other captain was receptive but offered no alternative dates. At my suggestion, the captain of the team seeking to reschedule reached out to Becky for assistance. She responded by looking at the two teams' schedules, offering three alternative dates, and asking the parties to identify two acceptable choices, guaranteeing that there would be agreement on one. She also offered to find the teams court time at a neutral facility if the home team facility had none available that day.