Sometimes relationships in small businesses can break down and small things can escalate into full blown disputes. Or nothing is said at all and bad feelings simmer beneath the surface, disrupting business and productivity. But what can you do about it that won’t mean dragging everyone into court?
Mediation is recognised as a great way for your small business to resolve disputes. It’s confidential, effective, inexpensive and a proven way to resolve issues quickly. Be it a dispute between you and a partner, or between colleagues, or even between you and a supplier, it’s always best to consider it before choosing legal action.
The concept of mediation is relatively new in the UK and is often seen as something you have to go through before you get to court, to prove that you’ve at least tried to ‘talk the problem through’. But, approached in the right way, it can actually be used in a much more productive way to settle disputes and repair relationships.
A mediator is an independent person who will sit down with you and the other party and help you discuss the issues. Sometimes, the problem is obvious and at other times what you think is the problem, is actually just hiding something else. For example, if you have an issue with your business partner about their productivity and you are falling out because you don’t think they are putting in as many hours as you, the real issue may be that you want to have some time off, or some variation in your working day. Either way, mediation can help you explore more creative resolutions.
Whatever the underlying issues are, a mediator will help you talk these things through and hopefully come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Mediation takes into consideration people’s individual values and is likely to be a much better alternative to sudden, knee-jerk reactions such as terminating a contract, or giving or receiving a simple and weak apology without any real changes being made.
A good mediation session will identify what needs to happen to resolve the dispute and should make your business stronger through adequate responses to issues.
Without this level of discussion, your business may miss out on opportunities to learn and grow. You may find that there are more things people can bring to the table that you can only find out by discussing contentious issues in a safe and encouraging environment; you risk losing out on an opportunity to find out what makes your employees, partners, and suppliers tick.
If you are having problems with any aspect of your business and feel that mediation may be the way forward, Slater and Gordon have qualified mediators who will be impartial and unbiased and endeavour to solve any issues you may have. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9052 or contact us online and we will call you.