Whenever there is more than one person with an opinion in a room, there is potential for conflict, but this doesn’t have to halt workplace productivity or lead to irreconcilable differences. In fact, conflict can spark innovation and solidify professional partnerships as well as direction. However, professional facilitation is usually needed for serious conflict resolution in the office. Read below for guidance on when to choose a group facilitator and why. 

How Does a Facilitator Resolve Conflict?

Facilitators are trained conflict management professionals whose goal is to drive collaboration between the involved parties to find a solution to the problem at hand. They are completely unbiased, unemotional observers of the situation and do not act according to any hidden agenda or prepared statements.

What Types of Conflict Require Facilitation?

In a professional setting, any conflict involving contracts, leases, small business ownership, employment and harassment claims may require professional facilitation. Using a facilitator to attempt to resolve issues before they progress to legal courts helps all parties save time and money, both precious resources to employers and employees alike, while also avoiding public attention.

Are There Alternatives to Facilitation? 

There are alternatives to conflict resolution such as arbitration and mediation. Mediators are the logical next step if and when facilitation fails because a mediator, although neutral, takes a more analytical and less collaborative approach to conflict resolution. In arbitration, an objective third party hears both sides of the argument and then decides the case. Both mediation and arbitration can have legal connotations based on the outcome of the decision, so it is often wise for businesses to use a facilitator prior to progressing forward with alternatives.