When to Hire a Mediator

It can be difficult to know when to hire a mediator, and when to try to resolve things yourself.

If you’re involved in a conflict, ask yourself: How much stress is this conflict causing me? What would it be worth to me to have the conflict resolved? Even if the conflict can’t be resolved, are there any concrete changes needed to make living with the conflict easier?

Some conflicts can be ignored, and some will resolve themselves without anyone doing very much. When is a conflict serious enough that you should consider bringing in a third party? While this is a very personal issue, I think that there are three things to consider:

  1. Does a decision need to be made?
  2. Have the parties involved been able to come to a resolution on their own?
  3. Is something of value is at stake (including peace of mind)?

The question of what counts as “something of value” is highly subjective. The cost of mediating a particular conflict should be weighed against the cost of doing nothing, the costs of inaction and indecision can be very high. Failing to act can allow conflict to fester and can eventually cost as much or more than taking action. And it has to be remembered that the costs of many conflicts are both financial and emotional – with the emotional costs being much harder to calculate.