Let’s leave our dispute resolution expertise aside for a moment. If I had to package up the skills that a mediator, or anyone tasked with facilitating negotiations, would do well to have, that package might surely remind you of a grandmother you know, or knew. Here’s why:
- Grandmothers are good at seeing the positive core of each person
- Grandmothers appreciate; unconditionally, with love, and given that appreciation may be the most significant human psychological need.
- Grandmothers are good observers, listeners, standing back, encouraging, giving cookies
- Grandmothers ask us to be compassionate; to put ourselves in the others shoes
- Grandmothers are comfortable with life’s paradoxes; they remind us how its largely our choice, how we respond to conflict
- Grandmothers understand how ego can be an obstacle to settlement; in their own way, they’ll tell us to keep your dignity you need to give up your pride.
- Grandmothers understand the give and take of negotiations, and that by giving to others, you will receive
- Grandmothers think a lot about the big picture, the future, legacy, agreement; leaving the party well means knowing what will happen after you’ve left.
- Grandmothers are skilled at focusing on things that are important; they know what fosters feelings of contentment
- Grandmothers know how to keep the momentum going; how to reframe the glass as half-full, as the going gets tough
- Grandmothers offer safety, a feeling that it’s ok to fail, on the resolution road
Refining my craft, as a mediator, is ongoing. I’ll take my inspiration where I observe it. What else does a grandmother do for you?
PS. No worries, grandpas. Your turn will come.
photo credit: JoseLoya on Flickr