If you have ever interacted with a professional conflict resolver and heard words like “restore,” “empower,” or “heal,” then you have met a wielder of soft power. Such folks believe in the ability of mere dialogue to fix shattered relationships. They swim steadily against a culture in which rifts are intentionally pried wider, atrocious public behavior is fed back to us as entertainment, and public figures run further to the margins. They must then scream even louder across the gaps.
You will hear resolvers talk about the need for neutrality and impartiality as they help people see and understand each other. But don’t be misled into thinking of this resolver as passive or disinterested. In truth, they are fierce activists who probe for – and often evoke – the best in people. Rather than tearing asunder, they instead pry reconciliation out of discord.
To know what makes us so enthusiastic, consider the following contrasts between mediation and punitive processes (e.g., disciplinary processes, investigations, grievances, litigation).
If you want to see a “good fight,” watch the evening news or another hundred YouTube Shorts. But if you want to see a “really good fight,” then hire a conflict resolver.