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Chapter 10. Monkey in the Middle: Mediat... > Mediation—What Is It? When Does It F... - Pg. 100

Monkey in the Middle: Mediation and Arbitration 100 There is no point starting the mediation process if it's bound to fail. Ask yourself: Do the parties have the authority to solve the issue? Do I have the skills to mediate? Is there some root cause that we need to address first? Second, has the problem arisen from either party's failure to perform his job responsibilities (whether it be from lack of job skills or knowledge)? If this is a root cause of a conflict, all the talk in the world isn't going to remedy the lack of skills. In this case, attack the root cause first. Training and coaching are better choices to start with. Third, has the problem arisen from some personal problems that are not being addressed (for ex- ample, family crisis, drug or alcohol problems, or other emotional problems)? If that's the case, these issues should be dealt with first. The person with those problems should be referred to the appro- priate professional help--often an employee assistance program (EAP). The fourth question has to do with authority and ability to solve the problem. Is the problem one that the parties, individually or together, have the authority to solve? In other words, it may be that the problem has to do with issues that only someone with more authority needs to address. If that's the case, the person with the needed authority needs to be involved. For example, two employees disagree on their respective job responsibilities. Because neither em- ployee has the power to change the job descriptions, neither really has the power to negotiate a solution. In this case, the manager of the employees needs to make a decision, rather than play the role of mediator. Deciding to Mediate After you have identified there is a problem between two employees that may require action, your first step is to determine whether mediation is appropriate. We've already mentioned the importance