When working through a dispute with a business partner, it is important for both parties to do whatever they can to preserve the business tie. After all, a business is only as healthy as its relationship with others.
One way to do that is by aiming for mediation rather than litigation. But what exactly is mediation, and what is a mediator’s role?
Acting as a referee
FINRA looks at mediation as a potential alternative for litigation. Where litigation involves taking the other party to court, mediation involves meeting with them and talking out all issues to come to a mutually agreeable decision.
A mediator’s role in this is to act as something of a referee as all parties to the disagreement try to work out the dispute. They will step in to interrupt if anyone gets too heated to deescalate. They will also ensure that everyone gets to say their piece by making sure no one talks over everyone else or “hogs the floor”, so to speak.
Providing unique perspectives
They can also offer a unique perspective as an uninvolved and neutral third party. They may add suggestions to the floor, contributing their expertise to struggling partners through what they have seen work or fail for others in similar situations.
They do not have the same legal authority as a judge or even an arbitrator, though. They cannot make a decision for business partners as to what should happen. Thus, this option generally works best for those who feel like they can already talk out their differences and simply need a guiding hand along the way.