Bill was an office manager responsible for supervising Melissa, the receptionist. Bill and Melissa were unable to communicate respectfully and this was affecting morale in the office, which had 12 other staff members. The general manager of the business sent them to mediation to work things out.
At the start of the mediation each party gave an opening statement about the issues as they saw them. Bill said Melissa was finicky and bugged him with matters she should be able to handle. She also took far too long to do simple things like scheduling client appointments. Melissa said Bill didn�t listen to her when she had issues and underestimated the time it took to do her job properly.
The safe and informal environment at mediation allowed Melissa to explain why she did the work in a certain way and why it took time. She said she frequently solved complicated problems for clients and saw that as part of her role. Bill said he felt that Melissa 'mothered' clients and took too long.
By the end of the mediation, Bill and Melissa realised that they had different values and approaches to the work. However, they agreed they needed to be able to communicate better to get the job done. Bill agreed to allow 15 minutes every day for Melissa to bring problems and issues to him. Bill and Melissa also agreed to meet weekly together with the general manager to check the new system was working and address any issues that had arisen.
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