As a leader, you know how important it is to lead your teams beyond inevitable conflicts that arise from personality and perspective differences towards productive interactions that create results.  I know, as a leader in the field of conflict resolution, how important it is to deal with conflict effectively and early in order to create a more engaging workplace atmosphere that motivates and inspires.

In a recent article from the Hofstra Labor and Employment Journal “Handling Workplace Conflict: Wh y Transformative Mediation?”, Baruch Bush describes the process of transformative mediation as an ideal model for the resolution of workplace conflict.  He points out that defining conflict as a crisis in human interaction frames it so that it can be addressed in a relational way which is particularly important for workplace conflict.  He goes on to talk about the success of the REDRESS program offered by the U.S. post office.

In another article on, Organizational Shadow and Conflict Management, Donald O’Reardon talks about bullying in organizations.  He calls this “organizational shadow”. In many organizations, according to O’Reardon, this type of harassment or bullying is seldom addressed and often overlooked.  He contends that this management dysfunction contributes to poor work attitude and to a lack of commitment of employees to achieve results.  This “organizational shadow” is often a major cause of poor work performance and leads to significant loss of revenue if not addressed.

One way to address the organizational shadow is to use transformative mediation. Because transformative mediation is a relational model, it provides excellent tools to build and maintain good working relationships. Learning the skills of transformative mediation, allows leaders to become effective in leading the organization through conflict and towards cohesive, productive work teams.

Here are three techniques influenced by transformative mediation you can use to hone your conflict resolution skills:

  1. Listen first, withhold reaction. Whenever dealing with team members in conflict, take time to listen to each individual without reacting.  Just listen and reflect back or summarize their concerns.
  2. Let them lead the way to resolution. Rather than suggesting how they should deal with the conflict, let them lead the way to finding a resolution.  This may take some patience on your part, but it will be well worth it.  When parties in the dispute design their own resolutions, they are longer lasting and more binding.
  3. Support their decisions. Once they find a way to resolve the issues themselves, honor their decisions.  If the solution is not practical, give them honest feedback and let them rethink the decision, but ultimately do everything possible to let them know that you will support a good decision once it is made.

If you follow these three suggestions, they will go a long way towards helping your team members resolve their own disputes and it may even have the added benefit of providing a framework for them to resolve disputes in the future.

Lisa Singh is a leader in providing mediation and conflict resolution. This blog article was part of a lesson from a social media marketing specialization with Coursera,  Engagement and Nurture Media Marketing Strategies from Northwestern University.  Lisa’s profile can be viewed on LinkedIn at




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