Conflict: Difference Between “Interests” & “Positions”

Mediation is an art, and a skilled mediator understands that the key to resolution lies beyond the surface, beyond the stated positions that parties often cling to. The essence of effective mediation lies in identifying and addressing the true interests of each party involved. In this blog post, we delve into the profound wisdom of recognizing interests over positions in the realm of conflict resolution.

The Illusion of Positions

When conflicts arise, individuals tend to articulate their positions – the tangible and often inflexible demands or desires that seem to define their stance. These positions can act as a protective shield, concealing the deeper, more nuanced interests that fuel the conflict. Think of positions as the visible tip of an iceberg – what lies beneath is often more significant and complex.

Unveiling Real Interests

A skilled mediator looks beyond the facade of positions and seeks to uncover the authentic interests that drive individuals. Real interests are deeply rooted in emotions, the need to be heard, and a desire for collaboration. They are the human elements that often get overshadowed by the rigid statements of positions. Understanding and addressing these real interests pave the way for more meaningful and sustainable resolutions.

Collaboration Over Confrontation

Unlike positions, interests are flexible and open to negotiation. They provide a common ground where conflicting parties can find shared goals and mutually beneficial solutions. A good mediator encourages collaboration, emphasizing that achieving real interests is not a zero-sum game. By focusing on what truly matters to each party, mediation becomes a collaborative journey rather than a confrontational battle.

Breaking Down Walls

Positions can build walls between parties, creating an atmosphere of opposition and resistance. Real interests, on the other hand, are bridges that connect individuals on a human level. Mediation becomes a process of breaking down these walls, allowing parties to see each other’s humanity, fostering empathy, and creating an environment where resolution can flourish.

The Role of a Skilled Mediator

A skilled mediator acts as a guide, helping individuals move beyond their initial positions to discover the common ground of real interests. By acknowledging the emotional aspects and human elements, a mediator facilitates a more holistic and effective resolution process. It’s about peeling away the layers of protective positions to reveal the genuine desires and concerns that drive each party.

The Power of Understanding

In the world of mediation, understanding real interests is the key to unlocking transformative solutions. Remember, as you navigate conflicts, whether personal or professional, that a good mediator looks for your interests – the human, emotional core that often holds the key to resolution. Positions may be like masks, but interests are the true faces we all wear, waiting to be seen and understood.

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