With employment news hitting the headlines again it is appropriate to reflect on how people are affected when their jobs are at risk or when relationships – usually between those in charge and those who work for them – break down.
- Today, the army has told 38 people their jobs will end in 12
months’ time – and it has done so by email. The army’s assistant general chief
of staff and the government have apologised for the unacceptable way in which
they broke the news to the long-serving soldiers.
- This week, the RAF announced that about 50 of its trainee
pilots could face redundancy and that it will not take any new students next
year, ending the careers of people whose hopes seemed built on strong
foundations, and disappointing others who had seen a positive future.
- Throughout this month, widespread media coverage has been
given to the fact that the future of our libraries is at risk, potentially
putting thousands of librarians out of work.
- And, again this month, the long-running dispute at British
Airways filled more column inches when its recent ballot was declared unlawful,
creating more uncertainties for cabin crew whose jobs are under threat.
These high profile cases have attracted sympathy from the public; there is a collective understanding of the disappointment, frustrations and irritations those affected must feel. But, for most people whose jobs are unsatisfactory or at risk, or whose relationships at work have deteriorated, there is no guarantee of understanding from anyone; their bosses, colleagues, family, friends might be too preoccupied by their own work or home lives to provide support.
At work, the highs and lows reverse: when morale dips and motivation wanes, production falls and absenteeism rises. Diffidence increases, tensions heighten, commitment slumps. Managers might not be equipped to manage these new situations or ask for help; respect for them dissipates; their achievements come under closer scrutiny – they, too, struggle to keep up the pace.
The private lives of the people whose jobs are at risk might also fall apart creating tensions, conflict, stress, a withdrawal from normal life and perhaps a drift into risky behaviour.
Professional advice – coaching, counselling, mentoring, mediation, training – can help individuals, individually or in teams, by building confidence, inspiring people, reducing conflict. It can also create a business shift – providing strategic advice on workplace policies, building skills for handling difficult situations or people, devising policies and practices that engender focus, build confidence, strengthen leadership and reshape the corporate culture.
In all four examples highlighted above, professional support and advice could create huge positive shifts for the people - and for the organisations - involved.
15/02/2011 | Posted in Mediation, Counselling,
With England riding high in The Ashes, a collective sense of pride seems to be sweeping through the nation. Even people whose knowledge of cricket extends no further than knowing it is played in whites on village greens have been caught up in following our team’s success, even if only in passing. At the same time we learned the disappointing news that Britain had failed to be chosen to host the football world cup in 2018.
Both events offer lessons about building pride and commitment at work.
With The Ashes, sports commentators convey the news enthusiastically on every medium – television, radio, print, the Internet – praising individual cricketers’ achievements and the team’s approach. There is no doubt that the team is pulling together and praise is being given to all as well as to each team player separately.
With the world cup announcement, all three leaders (prime minister David Cameron, HRH Prince William, David Beckham) spoke separately, but similarly, about the decision – praising the team who had put together an exemplary bid, criticising no one for their efforts. The overall message was everyone had done more than their bit; no one person was to blame; everyone was in this together.
These leadership approaches – giving praise where praise is due, shouldering the responsibility when things go wrong, communicating clearly to team members and beyond – specifically to build morale, commitment, loyalty, dedication and pride are typical in sport. They are less typical in organisations and businesses – though they are needed there just as much.
When morale is low, commitment, loyalty, dedication and pride plummet; absenteeism increases. Productivity and profits fall which puts jobs at risk, further depressing morale. Meanwhile, managers may be forced to focus on short-term targets, leaving staff to manage on their own, often in a communication vacuum.
This is when businesses need to adopt tactics used routinely in the sporting world – using experts (the equivalent of a team coach) not only to help devise ways of rebuilding individual morale and a collective team spirit but also to provide the hands-on effort needed to work with the team’s members and communicate with staff. We regularly act as team coach for the businesses we work with, rebuilding morale so staff and managers find it easier to work at peak performance.
14/12/2010 | Posted in Mediation, Psychotherapy,
Mediation has been agreed upon to try and resolve the ongoing conflict and legal battle between French beauty group L’Oreal and online auctioneer EBay. L'Oreal is making a legal claim against EBay for allowing the promotion of counterfeit goods using the L’Oreal name.
Earlier this week, a court in Paris announced that it had invited them to, and both parties had accepted to enter into, a legal mediation process. This is a high profile case and one which may have repercussions in the future. The French courts ruled against EBay following the case lodged by LVMH and Hermes. EBay is purely a retailer, however, the courts rules the host could have done more to prevent counterfeit goods being sold and that the retailer should bear some limited responsibility.
Mediation in this instance is being used to try to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution or agreement for the longer term over efficient measures to combat the sale of counterfeit goods in the future. With the ever-growing popularity of the mediation process in many cases, we expect there to be more and more news of mediation being used in high profile cases such as this.
14/05/2009 | Posted in Mediation, Psychotherapy,
In the Mirror earlier this month, there was an article featuring a mother and daughter, who had taken part in a pilot mediation scheme called the Time Out project. The scheme was designed to help families and was launched in Lambeth, South London.
In the first 12 months, the Time Out project showed a 91 per cent success rate, reconciling 91 per cent of families referred to them. This project actually allows troubled teens to stay in a home for up to six weeks, the only requirement being that they and their family take part in mediation to help resolve their problems. Mediation is a neutral way to discuss problems. It is important to understand and remember that a mediator will not judge or take sides in the disagreements in front of them. They are there solely to help negotiate and find a mutually agreeable resolution.
When mediation is first suggested to people, they often worry about a third party listening in to their talks but, after one or two sessions, most find that it really helps. Mediation isn't just for family problems either, but for any disagreement where two or more parties are involved, whether in a small business, large corporations, neighbours, families or any other situation.
11/05/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
In the Yorkshire town of Bradford, secondary schools are to have police officers appointed to visit the schools regularly to help educate pupils at an early age about the pitfalls of crime and to help with day-to-day welfare problems. The scheme is designed to help tackle common school issues such as weapons awareness, truancy and other problems. This new scheme in Bradford is a partnership between several agencies including Education Bradford and West Yorkshire Police and is funded by the police and Education Bradford. It will also help to ensure that mediation techniques are employed as early as possible.
Sgt Dan Greenwood of Safer Neighbourhoods and Partnerships, said: "By treating each school as a community and responding appropriately to their individual needs, we are able to give young people the targeted support they deserve and assist their transition into adult life. It is important that we support the school and assist in enforcing clear boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, but utilise restorative approaches to incidents where possible, ensuring that mediation is successfully employed to tackle underlying issues."Mediation is still a relatively new approach to resolving issues and not something everyone has experienced. By using mediation in schools and to resolve family issues, it will help highlight the positive benefits of mediation and a more peaceful, less time consuming and less expensive way to resolve disputes in all areas of life.
05/05/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
According to experts, the dismal picture of the forthcoming financial year, as depicted by the Chancellor in this year’s Budget, is likely to lead to a large increase in litigation and, subsequently, to mediation too. When financial pressure is on, businesses need to recoup losses as quickly as possible and this is likely to mean an increase in the number of disputes. However, given the expense and time involved, going to court is not always the best way either to resolve a dispute or to continue a business relationship. An alternative resolution for disputes is mediation. A representative for Hammonds lawyers in Birmingham, Erica Simpson, from the firm’s dispute resolution team, said:
“This is a highly effective method of resolving disputes. It is a structured negotiation which is assisted by an independent third party and normally takes place over the course of a day. Clients are more comfortable with it than with more formal dispute resolution procedures as they have control over the process and are familiar with negotiation."Courts are increasingly encouraging cases to try mediation before continuing to court - and look favourably on those who have at least tried the mediation route with the full intention of trying to resolve a matter in a more amicable manner without proceeding to court. Mediation is becoming increasingly popular and it is easy to see why.
And mediation can help salvage business relationships which would flounder if the dispute proceeded to trial. Ms Beaton said: “As it is a relatively quick process and does not need as much preparation as would be needed if a more formal method of dispute resolution were undertaken, it is cost effective which is in the interests of every client.”
04/05/2009 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Mediation,
Despite its growing popularity in recent years, mediation is still a relatively unheard of term for many people who, although they may have heard the term, still remain unaware of what it means and what it does. It helps raise awareness, therefore, when respected spokespeople promote the use and benefits of mediation.
One mediation expert in the Isle of Man has been helping raise awareness in Sheffield by giving a talk about how mediation can save businesses money. Using mediation services can help companies to save millions of pounds by helping to make sure that their staff members and workforce get along together in the workplace.
Making use of mediators means that any cases or disputes can be resolved quickly - and in a much more cost effective manner than by going through the courts. Of course, solving workplace or employment disputes is not the only means by which mediation can save companies and courts much time and money. Mediation can also be used in family matters and in any case where two or more parties have a dispute.
Mediation has seen success all over the world and continues to grow in popularity, with courts taking a dim view of those who refuse to participate in any form of mediation.
21/04/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
The new Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures will come into force in April this year and with it comes a lot more focus on using mediation to resolve matters of dispute. This means we are likely to see much more need for mediation in all areas of business, as well as family matters.
Mediation has been used in the workplace more and more often in the last few years, however, has not taken off as much as had been expected. The new focus that the new Acas code is putting on mediation is likely to change all that and HR departments everywhere will be looking to bear this in mind when potential personality clashes between employees might arise.
It involves using a neutral third party to mediate between two parties in a dispute. Both parties must be willing to take part. Although the new Acas code does not demand that mediation be used, the code puts great emphasis on the company intervening as early as possible and informally where appropriate. Mediation is best used as early as possible and, although HR departments can be good at intervening, they are never seen as neutral because they represent the interests of an employer. An employed mediator, however, is neutral and is trained skilfully to help individuals to forget their own interests and focus instead on an intended goal and how the two parties can best achieve that goal.
31/03/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
During a recession, many people are affected in a negative way. Unemployment is rife with up to two million people currently out of work, and even those who are lucky enough to still have a job probably have a family member who is out of work or are worried about their own job. Money worries are high and as a result, stressed out couples are likely to take it out on each other and on those around them. With little money to spare, it can be difficult to spend quality time together too.
As a result, mediation is in great demand. Although divorce law is meant to be recession-proof, thanks to property problems and negative equity running high, many couples cannot afford to consider divorce. Mediation is one answer that is certainly much cheaper than a divorce. Mediators can help with all manner of family issues, not just couples that feel they're reaching the end of the road. The mediator is a neutral third party, not there to judge but to facilitate communication and negotiation to a mutually agreeable solution.
01/03/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
A New York high school has been able to co-ordinate over 200 peer mediations to help students resolve their issues. Retired police detective, Mary Ann McGovern, has been helping Schenectady High School through the Center for Community Justice’s peer mediation plan for the last 12 months. McGovern said:
"Peer mediators are a group of trained, dedicated students who help their fellow classmates resolve their own issues. We do not give advice or judge. We just guide the mediation process".The mediation programme now covers all three middle schools. One year ago, they incorporated the "incident reduction plan" because the school was rated the 16th most violent in the state. There are now 40 trained mediators, trained in mediation techniques and communication. Trained mediators sign an oath of confidentiality and receive training before helping in mediation cases and at least two mediators handle each case and are monitored during the mediation. McGovern added:
"The program is a valuable tool for crisis intervention. Mediation is an alternative way to resolve conflicts, giving students a forum to have their voices heard and a chance to own and resolve issues that negatively affect them".Mediation guides conversation and facilitates negotiation to help people reach a resolution in a quick and peaceful manner. It has become increasingly popular in recent years and is helpful in all sorts of cases.
20/02/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
A new mediation service has been offered in the town of Bury to help solve problems with neighbourhood feuds. This mediation service has been set up by the local council's anti social behaviour team, The Whitefield office of Contour Homes and the Irwell Valley Housing Association - to help those neighbours who are no longer speaking due to a fall out or disagreement.
Ann Walton from Contour Homes commented: "This scheme is quite unique because it is bringing together housing experts from different organisations. All parties are 'loaning' their experts free of charge in order to provide an impartial service to people living in Bury. Essentially the service is for neighbours who have fallen out and are at the stage where they can no longer talk to each other. Our trained mediators will work with all parties to find a solution that is agreeable to everyone".
As with all mediation services, it will be impartial. Whatever happens during mediation is not reported or noted to any other individual or organisation; it is strictly confidential. For any mediation to work, all parties must agree to take part. Mediation has proved successful in business matters and families as well as neighbour issues. It is a much cheaper and quicker resolution than taking any legal action.
17/02/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
The mediation solution being offered on an estate in Kingston, Surrey, has been noted as a success by the local police. Conflict on the Knollmead estate between residents and local youths was originally managed by a dispersion order issued by the local council, however, it was soon noted this was not an effective long term solution and so a mediation service with a local company was offered to bridge the gap. The two groups, residents and youths, met separately with the team of mediators and agreed to take part in a mediation process. Two sessions took place to listen to each group first before brainstorming took place to find possible solutions before a written agreement was designed to solve the conflict moving forward.
Lead mediator Mike Morris said: "The willingness to talk and listen honestly to each other revealed a strong commitment to express feelings but also to explore practical solutions. I was impressed with the ability of these two groups to explore an effective solution. They are to be applauded."Mediation is constantly being used in different situations all over the UK, at group levels, in business and also in smaller situations such as domestic issues between families or neighbours, and is proving a successful, cheap and quick resolution in many cases.
15/02/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
A local mediation service has teamed up with the Wandle Housing Association to help train eight local residents to become community mediators. The idea of this new scheme is to help tackle things like anti-social behaviour in several London Boroughs. The volunteer residents complete a 40 hour training course and learn how to act as mediators and support other residents.
Mediation is expected to become a valuable part of the service to tackle anti social behaviour. It is hoped that, should this pilot scheme prove successful, then there is the possibility that it might be rolled out across London and possibly even the whole of the UK.
Key skills for mediators include being able to communicate effectively, listen to different parties without making judgment and facilitating discussions leading to mutually agreeable solutions. Mediation is a great service for helping people to resolve issues and disputes. The mediator is a neutral party and does not offer advice, but merely helps the disputing parties discuss their issues openly with a view to reaching a resolution. Mediation has proved successful in areas such as business matters, family disputes and neighbour issues. Mediators help in a wide range of scenarios and, as a result, mediation is becoming much more popular.
09/02/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
There has been much talk in the media about the oil refinery strikes happening across the UK and, this week, a mediation service was called in to help with the negotiations. In strike action, the employers and employee representatives (often a staff union) negotiate to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion. However, with emotions often running high, it can be difficult to work through the discussions and reach that conclusion. That is where mediation is particularly useful.
A mediator is a neutral third party who sits in on the negotiations and is there to help facilitate the discussion. They do not take sides or offer advice and mediation is often quicker, cheaper and easier than going through court proceedings.
In cases such as this strike, where speed is of the essence, mediation can be very useful. However, mediation doesn’t just have to be used in extreme cases like these oil refinery strikes. It can also be particularly useful in family or neighbour issues as well as business matters. Mediation in recent years has gained popularity and is being used more and more frequently.
05/02/2009 | Posted in Mediation,
According to a report from The Times Online, it isn’t just your body that might be flagging following the Christmas period but your relationship might need a little tender loving care too.
The Family Mediation helpline has stated that thousands of UK couples worry about separation in the New Year period and indeed divorce lawyers state that the first working day in the new year often sees a flurry of activity as couples file for divorce.
Mediation is the process of allowing a neutral third party to help bring together two parties in order to find a mutually satisfactory outcome to any dispute. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t just for corporate companies or legal disputes, but can also be used in relationships especially where children are involved.
To help avoid divorce, couples should take a little time for themselves. This doesn’t have to be an expensive time, sometimes just watching a film together or going back to places where they dated can help to rekindle memories of happier times and to remind them why they got together in the first place. It is important not to resort to blame tactics, but to take a more constructive approach and see how you can proceed together as a couple from hereon in.
Mediation can often help couples to see things from outside the relationships. A mediator does not take sides, but simply helps to reach workable agreements and avoid a trip to the courts if at all possible.
06/01/2009 | Posted in Mediation, Psychotherapy,
Through a mediation process, Channel 4 and the phoneline operator Eckoh yesterday reached an agreement and dropped legal action against each other in the Richard & Judy phone-in dispute.
A spokesperson for Eckoh said: "Eckoh announces that they and Channel 4 decided to resolve their differences through mediation rather than through the courts. Following a successful mediation held on December 1, both parties have reached an agreement and all matters relating to this dispute are now settled”.
Channel 4 has said that Eckoh breached their contract in an effort to recover the £1 million fine it received from Ofcom when viewers were not able to have a chance of winning the Richard & Judy You Say We Pay competition on the show last year. Eckoh had denied any liability and issued a counter claim against Channel 4. No other details have been disclosed about the agreement reached via mediation between the two parties. Mediation can be used as a process to reach a mutual agreement between any two parties, whether that is companies, as in this case, or individuals, as is usual in family mediation.
03/12/2008 | Posted in Mediation,
Couples therapy is usually viewed as being completely different from psychotherapy, because it is the relationship that is being focused upon, rather than the individual. However, the individuals within the couple cannot be overlooked. Psychology is often seen as a medical treatment, being used when somebody has a problem and so they are sick and need assistance. However, psychology should not be viewed purely as a medical system, because psychology deals with both problems and changes.
Couples counselling or couples therapy focuses on relationship troubles between two individuals, which inevitably involves both individual problems and relationship issues. For instance, when a couple argue constantly, then individually, they will be feeling anxious, depressed or angry, or a combination of these. This sort of behaviour can often be traced back to unconscious family issues. The process of couples counselling can a combination of counselling, psychology and mediation, making it particularly effective. With couples counselling, the therapist will help the couple pick out the problems in the relationship, help them to decide how they need to change and work towards making these changes. The therapist is helping the couple, and not either individual. Changes could include the interaction within the relationship, personal problems, communication, sharing responsibilities and choosing life goals.
25/10/2008 | Posted in Mediation, Psychotherapy,
Earlier this month, The Sun newspaper wrote about the importance of children when parents are having personal relationship troubles. At times like these, children can be scarred, not only in terms of their memories as they get older but they can also carry these problems into adulthood. It can damage them and help prevent them from forming proper relationships with other family members, friends and even from finding the right sort of relationship with partners in the future.
When you are experiencing personal problems, you often feel low in confidence, tired – both physically and emotionally, and the last thing you might feel you can cope with is the additional pressure of coping with your children’s needs. However, how you handle your children now can affect the rest of their lives.
There are many ways that counselling or mediation can help, even with just a few simple and straightforward tips:
- Do not pretend that nothing is wrong. Tell them that you are not getting on but be sure to emphasise that it is you both love them (so long as that is true).
- Re-iterate constantly that it is not their fault.
- Ask how they feel.
- Tell the school what is going on.
- Do not blame your partner.
Family or partner counselling or mediation is not there necessarily to try to keep a failed relationship going, but it can also help you negotiate your way through the hurt to make necessary arrangements for dealing with your children and helping them through it too.
23/10/2008 | Posted in Counselling, Mediation,
Family mediation is often done in the months following divorce or separation. It is a way of helping couples search for their own solutions to any disputes they may be experiencing. It is not some form of psychiatry, as some believe; it is simply being able to discuss issues in front of an impartial third party to help people find solutions they might have missed, without things getting too heated.
Family mediation is growing in popularity and is now used for many issues such as disputes between children and their parents, upset or angst over caring for seriously ill relatives or elderly relatives, children becoming homeless through family arguments, or even disputes over contact with an absent parent or grandparents.
So what happens during family mediation? Both parties explain their concerns to the other in front of a family mediator. The mediator is not on anybody's side but is there to help both parties. Occasionally, the mediator might suggest ways of solving the issue, to discuss the options, but will never tell either party what they should or shouldn't do. In addition, the mediator might provide information on legal matters but, again, will not and cannot give advice on what to do. So, if legal advice is needed, the mediator will recommend seeing a solicitor. In some instances, it is useful to see a solicitor when agreement is met, or between sessions, so that each party can be certain that whatever is agreed is fair to them.
07/10/2008 | Posted in Mediation,
Divorce mediation can help couples to make decisions to reduce the likelihood that the divorce will decrease the couple’s assets and in a way that will reduce any negative impact on children. However, divorce mediation does not suit every troubled couple.
Divorce mediation requires both people to be honest about their situation and want a positive outcome from it. If one party is intent on hiding assets, making the other person feel miserable, or wants to take an unfair advantage of the other, then divorce mediation will not work.
There are many advantages to divorce mediation. First, it is cheaper. The couple usually splits the fee as well. Without mediation, each person pays their own lawyer, so between them they will pay twice as much. The main advantage is that the couple get to decide the divorce outcome. The mediator’s goal in divorce mediation is to ensure each person agrees at each step of the process. Together, the couple decide when to file for divorce, how to divide property and parenting time with children, and everything else. Without mediation, a judge decided for the couple and they are stuck with that. If a couple believes they can work together reasonably to finish their marriage, then they should most definitely consider divorce mediation.
25/08/2008 | Posted in Mediation,
Mediation is when two parties involve a neutral third party to help them overcome or resolve a dispute or argument. The third party is not advisory but there to help the parties come to a shared understanding of the situation and to work towards an agreed resolution. Mediation is also sometimes called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It can be undertaken by couples, two companies, or even two countries. Some examples of disputes which may be dealt with or helped by mediation include:
- marital disagreements
- prenuptial agreements
- separation / divorce
- financial distribution
- parental / custody issues
- elderly care issues
- sibling conflictsWorkplace:
- wrongful termination
- landlord/tenant issues
- medical malpractice
- personal injury
- youth/peer mediation
- violence prevention
28/07/2008 | Posted in Mediation,