AND... SEEN! - Lessons in Mediation from HBO's Girls

Tom Armstrong
Tom Armstrong
movie marker

Unusual leadership tips and tricks from T.V. and film.

Done carefully, mediation can heal broken relationships in the workplace, school, and at home. Done poorly, it can make matters much worse. In my opinion, the mediator should be an objective third-party. Most of all, participants should be  given a voice and a path to follow that leads to a peaceful solution.

When setting up a mediation, the most important thing is to create a safe space conducive to constructive talk. I recommend having a rectangular table set up so the conflicting parties can sit at the long ends (at the heads of the table). The next step is to establish norms with the participants. The two most essential rules are:

1. What we say in this space stays in this space.

2. Participants will speak only to the mediator, not to each other.

It is then your job to make sure you ask the right questions, take notes, and keep the two parties from speaking directly to each other. After each side has had equal chances to tell their side of the story try your best to sum up the situation from your point of view. When both parties agree to the facts of the situation you can begin brainstorming constructive solutions. Select two or three realistic solutions and put them down as a contract which all parties, including yourself, sign. This should be dated and kept in a safe space. All parties should leave with a copy of the contract.

And that's what I got! Until next time...

Tom Armstrong

By Tom Armstrong

Tom Armstrong started with The Leadership Program in 2007 as a trainer teaching leadership skills through the art of percussion. As a professional musician, Tom quickly found that his love for teaching was not limited to percussion. Fascinated by the idea of using the arts as a way to engage youth and adults, Tom began teaching leadership concepts through the arts and grew in the organization to his current position as Senior Director of Programming. He now oversees the successful implementation of programming for over one hundred schools. As a Project Management Professional, Tom also applies his expertise in project management to help businesses achieve their benchmarks for success in all areas of effective management and corporate culture building.