My lightbulb moment!

April 6th, 2016

I remember my business partner saying to me that it was her “lightbulb moment” when she trained to become a workplace mediator and left the corporate legal world behind her. I am not sure at the time that I really knew what she meant. However, after encouraging me to do the Foundation in Workplace Mediation training, it made absolute sense to me.

Having spent eleven years as an employment law specialist advising businesses and individuals in legal disputes I saw only too often the damaging effects that litigation has on businesses and the individuals involved in the conflict.

What I didn’t know then, is the massive benefits that workplace mediation and training managers how to manage conflict in the workplace, can have. If I knew then, what I know now, it would undoubtedly have made be a better employment lawyer. I, like so many other lawyers and HR professionals, often viewed mediation as a last resort or something to be used once internal procedures have been completely exhausted. However, I am glad to say that I now know this is definitely not the case.

There is still obviously a time and a place for employment law but I am now finding it hugely rewarding to be involved at a much earlier stage with a view to minimising conflict and hopefully avoiding the matter ending up in a legal battle at the Tribunal!

I have also learned that whether or not an agreement is reached there is a huge value in the mediation process; there is no such thing as an unsuccessful mediation or a dispute that is not suitable for mediation.

It is a voluntary process so you do need the consent of the parties to take part in the process but where some people might see mediation as not being successful as there is no formal agreement at the end of it, the fact that both parties have had the opportunity to “have their say” can, in so many cases, be the success of the mediation.

It is often the underlying issues that do not get resolved by the internal processes that invariably leave one party feeling as though they have lost and not been listened too, that cause the conflict situation to resurface again and again. This is where the power of mediation cannot be under estimated.

I am truly grateful to my business partner in sharing her lightbulb moment with me and encouraging me to train to become a workplace mediator and experience my own “lightbulb moment”.


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The report was very professional, it dealt with all the issues raised and was particularly thorough. It clearly took the time to fully understand all of the issues and background. It was complex but the report really helped to break it down and I’m hoping we can progress in a positive manner following the recommendations.

Group HR Manager, Energy Sector |

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