Setting Boundaries–The Seventh Commandment for Mediators

19 Dec

Well, here we are–the last post of the blog series “The Seven Commandments for Mediators” (insert gasp here!)

This one is certainly one of the most important: Setting boundaries is essential for the mediator and the parties.

Let’s face it: The parties can be very demanding–there’s always an issue that demands your undivided attention. However, it’s key to make sure the parties know what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to communication.

untitledFor example, what if a party wants to contact you before the mediation and get your “feedback” about an issue that you feel is central to the negotiation? If you are clear about your boundaries, you will feel comfortable telling that party that you cannot discuss the issues before the actual mediation. If not, you may get suckered into allowing one party to bend your ear without the other’s consent.

It’s true in life, too. As the holidays creep ever closer, setting and keeping boundaries is something with which many people will struggle, especially as families get together.

Hmmm…maybe I should make my mental list of boundaries now–before the turkey gets served!


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