Find Mediators Near You:

Mediating With Dalek’s: Crossing The Divide

From the CMP Resolution Blog of John Crawley, Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

On a visit to BBC Studios in London earlier this year I came across a Dalek. (For those of you who don’t know they are sworn enemies of Doctor Who – a fictitious BBC character who has survived scary situations across time and space dimensions since the 1960s). My children invited me to ‘mediate it!’ As you can see I was not very successful – striking a quite hostile parental posture. A Dalek is just not made for open body language and empathic engagement. Its favourite word is ‘Exterminate’ and both its arms are weapons.

I’ve never met a real Dalek, but have mediated with parties who seem to be from a different planet from me and one another. I know it’s not the mediator’s role to be like the parties, nor necessarily to even like them. Mediators are more bystanders than buddies, more observers than witnesses, more facilitators than parents. Some parties will create different responses in us; others will require different responses from us.

Impartiality is a practised art which doesn’t happen naturally and is our main protection from judging or taking sides. The greatest gift to the parties, however, no matter how like or unlike you they are, is interest. Good mediators know a lot about people, but understand the importance of taking a fresh interest in each party they meet, understanding where they are coming from and not letting unfamiliarity or hostility downgrade rapport. Sometimes this is a small step, but it can also be a great divide. All the more important to cross it and see what life is like on the other side.


John Crawley

John Crawley is the Founder and Chair of CMP Resolutions and has been working in organisations who are experiencing conflict for the last 20 years. He has acquired a unique range of conflict narratives illustrating what works and what does not. John developed and utilised the model of Constructive Conflict… MORE >

Featured Members

View all

Read these next


Employee Contracts Are Becoming Complicated Amid COVID-19

It's hard to think of any aspect of life that remains untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions in the professional sphere are some of the most significant, with everyday work...

By Kayla Matthews

One World, One Song? Probably Not: Looking At Music In Conflict Resolution

From Stephanie West Allen's blog on Neuroscience and conflict resolution. I have blogged so frequently here about the possible use of music in conflict resolution that music is one of...

By Stephanie West Allen

The Cost of Organizational Conflict

Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie Noble Ill-managed conflict costs organizations in many ways besides the expense of litigation and related claims. Other costs include the loss of productivity, morale, motivation, creative...

By Cinnie Noble