The A-Z of Mediation: Flexibility

Posted on: April 3rd, 2023

One of mediation’s greatest strengths lies in its FLEXIBILITY. When you consider the number of variables that can be involved in an interpersonal dispute, flexibility is an important factor to consider when deciding on the resolution method.

Each participant has unique concerns, needs, and motives, all of which must be addressed in order to resolve the conflict. To do this, mediation takes a unique approach to resolving conflict, one that allows for a lot of flexibility and freedom.

For example, mediation is a process that can be easily shaped and adapted to meet the parties’ needs. Depending on the type of dispute and the parties taking part, we can shift over to shuttle mediation if required, we can take breaks as and when necessary, and we can roughly schedule things around parties’ availability.

The importance of flexibility in mediation

Mediation is also unique in how the parties contribute. Contrary to other resolution methods, the discussions and negotiations are completely steered by the participants. The mediator remains impartial throughout, takes somewhat of a back seat, and welcomes any and all contributions brought to the table. As we don’t know what the participants are going to bring with them, it’s important to remain flexible and adjust to what’s going on in front of us.

It’s also important to look at the flexibility of the outcome, which is unique in itself. While it may seem that they’ve come up with the perfect agreement to end the dispute, this isn’t always the case. This is why we also create contingency plans and schedule follow-ups where the mediator can check back in with them. Based on this, post-case adjustments to the agreement can be made.

Flexibility amongst participants

In return, we also ask the participants to take up a flexible approach too. Typically, parties enter into the process with a clear idea of what they want to get out of it and how they’re going to get it (usually through a 'showdown' with the other person!) As mediators, we want them to take part with an open mind and be able to consider different methods and outcomes.

This is completely different to other resolution methods, such as arbitration or litigation, which are rigid in their structures and outcomes. These approaches firmly set out what is right and wrong, abide by strict formulas, and decide the course of action through a third party.

Reach out today

Looking for mediation services or training? Here at UK Mediation, we offer a variety of services and training for organisations and individuals. Please contact our team today for any additional information or enquiries.