Mediation Services: Make “I” statements work for you.

Mediation Services
Make “I” statements work for you

Mediation Services: “I” Statements, not “You” Statements

The purpose of my mediation services is to help people find a way to resolve their issues.  Often I find that poor communication skills are issues.  How many times have you said statements like these?

“You don’t listen to a word I say.”

“I can’t do anything without you criticizing.”

“You don’t take any responsibility!”

Common enough phrases. Especially when emotions are running high.  What do all these statements share?  The focus of each statement is the other person – the word “you”.  By using the word “you”, the speaker sends a message of blaming, of accusing.  As a result, the receiver of these statements has little choice but to defend.  Emotions begin to increase.

As a result, the conversation is now focused on argument, on defend and attack.  NOT the real issue of concern.  Not only are these types of conversations pointless, they are exhausting and draining.  So what can be done?  Mediation services can help.

It’s not about “you” it’s about me (or I).

With conflicts it easy to spot emotions.  People can quite clearly express their anger, confusion, frustration etc.  But the important part that is missing from the conversation is “why” they are feeling this way.  What is causing this emotion?  If a person can not express why they are feeling a certain way – how can they expect others to understand? Without understanding, how can there be a reasonable resolution.  It is all connected.

What is an “I” statement

Before making an “I” statement there are tow important things to remember:

  1. Making an “I” statement involves taking a risk.  When expressing how you feel the expectation is that the other person will respond in a positive way.  I have found that the this happens in the vast majority of times.  Trust that this will happen for you as well.
  2. You need to know yourself.  You must be able to clearly identify your emotions as well as specific examples of what is causing these emotions.  Remember: you are not accusing the other person, you are explaining events.

Making the “I” statement.  Very simply, these are the four parts of an “I” statement.

  1. When (….objectively describe event) happens
  2. I feel (…..identify your emotion)
  3. I feel this way because (…..objectively describe why).
  4. I would rather (….describe another way of dealing with this event).

Take another look at these steps.  There is no blaming or accusing.  It encourages the positive rather than negative.  Emotions are identified but are not the focus.  Statements are objective not subjective.  It offers an invitation to find an option.

One last word about “I” statements.  Your emotions are yours.  They are valid.  This is how you feel.  That needs to be respected.

Workplace Mediation: Workplace conflict.

workplace conflicts




Workplace Mediation: Dealing with conflict.

Conflict in the workplace can come in many forms.  Workplace mediation can help.  Before going to workplace mediation there are things that you can do.  There may be a way to resolve workplace conflict on your own.

Personality differences, leadership issues and changes, or differences in personal work style are just a few sources of workplace conflict.  We all have experienced clashes of these types.  Sometimes the conflict is minor, sometime major.  Sometimes the response is mild, sometimes extreme.  How do/should a person respond?  We should respond.  Brushing conflicts under the carpet usually results in letting the conflict fester and grow.

Most workplaces have policy to guide employees through theses situations.  If you feel the need to proceed in this manner.  However, there are a couple things that you can do on your own to address issues.

Dealing with conflict: Take a look at yourself first.

When faces with conflict, it is always best to examine yourself first.  After all, you have control over yourself, your thoughts and your actions.  This control can go a long way in creating an effective strategy to resolve the conflict. Here are my thoughts:

To any conflict there are basically two general responses.  These two responses are commonly called “Halos and Horns”.

A “halo” response is one where your story puts you into the best possible light.  Telling your story in this manner attempts to give yourself credibility, or justification.  You are the “good” guy/employee.

A “horn” response is one where your story puts the other person in negative light.  These types of stories tend to blame and accuse.  Generally describing the other person(s) work as unfavorable.

Both of these responses have weaknesses and can lead to enhancing the conflict – not resolving the conflict.  Both responses are adversarial.  This does not lead to resolution. The focus moves away from the actual issue of the conflict.  The focus now becomes a “me against them” type of mentality.  Conversations become more “he said, they said”.  Much time is now spent dealing with these issues, rather than the real issue.   So what can you do?

First, find your true story.  It should lay somewhere in the middle between “halo” and “horn”.  Be honest.  Your goal needs to be resolution.   To help, try this exercise.

Draw a line down the middle of a blank piece of paper.  On one side write down all the facts about the conflict.  For each fact, on the other side, write down what is really bothering you about this fact.  As you progress, you may need to re-write some of the facts and your responses.  That’s good!!  You are now moving towards the middle between “halo” and “horn”.