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Mediation Techniques in Management

Mediation Techniques in Management


What makes a great manager? This article by CMP Resolutions explores the concept of “Conversational Integrity” by Henry Mintzberg. Authentic conversations and human connections are pivotal for cultivating engagement and creating a positive workplace ethos. Mediation is a fantastic tool to facilitate conversations through open communication and empathy, leading to improved relationships and a healthier workplace environment.

HR guru Henry Mintzberg tells the story of how his daughter had once left him a puzzling note about her shoes: “Souls need fixing”. The simple misspelling was a reminder to Mintzberg of the much bigger problem being faced by modern organisations and their managers. A soulless form of management had taken over, suffocating people’s engagement with work. Some souls really did need fixing.

He has pointed to the influence of MBAs in encouraging a distorted form of management, taught to believe they can manage anything by being equipped with a generic kind of formula: detached, technocratic, fixated with numbers and their own personal performance. People management itself comes low on the agenda. Numbers first. And the result, says Mintzberg, is often just mean-spirited, playing people off against each other to get better results. What he calls “kiss up and kick down” managers, just trying to impress their “superiors” while denigrating “subordinates”.


We all know the difference, instinctively, when we experience an organisational culture “with soul”. Mintzberg himself talks about a healthcare manager who joined one of his management programs. “He and his colleagues ‘loved working’ in one of them. It was a happy place, thanks to a head nurse who cared. She was understanding, respectful of everyone, intent on promoting collaboration between doctors and nurses. The place had soul.

Then she retired, and was replaced by someone qualified in nursing, with a master’s degree in management. Without any conversation the new manager started questioning everything. Where there used to be chatting and laughing at the start of shifts, ‘it became normal for us to see one nurse crying’”. Within the space of a few months, the family culture had been destroyed.

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