What They Want: Their Needs

by John Ford
(excerpt from John's book "Peace at Work")

The key to solving a conflict is the identification of the participants’ underlying needs. One of the most important tasks of the mediator is to make these needs explicit. The participants typically come to the mediation aware of what they want (their ideal solution), but few have done the preparation work that helps them to discover why they want this particular outcome (their needs).

One of the most fundamental reframes in mediation is from demands to needs. Use every chance to do this. Reframe: “We cannot keep on having these dysfunctional dynamics.” to “ You need reliable staff who do what they commit to, and who communicate when there is a problem.”

It takes practice reframing to needs. You will find a needs inventory in this post which contains a list of words that are helpful to use when identifying and framing needs.

When there is no new information surfacing and the participants have cleared the air and discharged enough of the emotional charge to start problem solving, start steering the conversation towards the listing of needs.

Needs Inventory

 

Substantive Topic/Issue
What do I want?
 

Accuracy
Assignments
Benefits
Change
Competence
Compliance
Consideration
Contribution
Creativity
Customer satisfaction
Efficiency
Equality
Equipment
Expectations
Freedom
Health
Information
Job security
Lawful treatment
Learning
Money
Office location
Peace
Performance
Productivity
Promotion
Protection
Purpose
Quality work
Relationship
Roles
Safety
Salary/Money
Saving face
Security
Structure
Time
Title
Training
Trust

Relationship Dynamics
What do we need to relate to one another?

Approval
Acceptance
Accountability
Acknowledgement  
Affection
Apology
Appreciation
Authenticity
Autonomy
Belonging
Care
Comfort
Commitment
Communication
Compassion
Conciliation
Connection
Ease
Empathy
Fair treatment
Forgiveness
Friendship
Fun
Help
Honesty
Hope
Inclusion
Independence
Inspiration
Integrity
Intimacy
Love
Loyalty
Meaning
Morale
Motivation
Mourning
Power
Predictability
Privacy
Reassurance
Recognition Control
Reliability
Respect
Saving face
Security
Shared reality
Support
Trust
Understanding
Vindication

Identity/Reputation
How do I want to be seen?
 

Adventurous
Authoritative
Caring
Compassionate
Competent
Considerate
Consistent
Creative
Dependable
Enthusiastic
Ethical
Expert
Fair
Friendly
Fun
Generous
Harmonious
Honest
Inspiring
Integritous
Intelligent
Kind
Lawful
Leader
Logical
Nurturing
Organized
Peaceful
Powerful
Reasonable
Reliable
Reputable
Responsible
Sensitive
Serious
Strong
Thoughtful
Trusting
Victim
Well-regarded

Process Concerns
What is important about the process?

Balance
Certainty
Clarity
Clarity of decision-making rules
Confidentiality
Consistency
Disclosure
Efficiency
Equal airtime
Equal treatment
Equality
Fairness
Honesty
Involvement
Notification
Opportunity to speak
Participation
Precedent
Privacy
Punctuality
Safety
Timeliness
Trust

Comment /Source

John Ford

John is an experienced work-place mediator and trainer. He is the author of Peace at Work, a guide book on workplace mediation for HR managers.

Resologics provides conflict advising services to organizations to help them avoid disputes, optimize team dynamics for better outcomes, and reduce costs. The resologics team can be reached at 510.314.8314 | team@resologics.com | www.resologics.com