Many of us spend more time with our colleagues at work than we do with our families.
As with any long-term relationships, conflicts between co-workers are bound to come up. Whether or not the conflicts boil over and disrupt others depends a lot on how managers handle the situation.
Many conflicts occur because of the following:
- An individual may not be open to considering the positions of other people
- Power struggles
- Strong or passionate opinions, feelings, or ways of thinking that clash with workplace dynamics, process or leadership direction.
- Differing opinions on priorities or how the job should be done.
- Appearance or presumption of inequities in work or status (preferential treatment).
- Conflicts concerning the needs of employee and those of the business.
- Failure of management to provide “Standard Operating Procedures” for handling day-to-day tasks and lines of authority.
As manager, you set the tone for how conflicts will be resolved.
Try to get all the information before making a decision on what happened. Stick to the facts. If the situation demands that an employee change some behavior, give an explanation of how the behavior is impacting performance or the productivity of the group. Managers should provide clear expectations for performance and execution of tasks.
You may need to bring those in conflict together. As you do, talk over the situation as you understand it. Acknowledge that from time to time situations do come up and handling them openly and professionally is best for everyone. Allow everyone involved in the conflict to explain the problem in his or her own words. You need to ensure that your employees feel free to speak their minds about a situation while you set the guidelines for the conversation. Insist that employees act professionally. Ask for a level playing field and that employees leave their defensiveness at the door. Let each person be heard and ask if he or she felt able to explain their part of the situation. Establish a game plan for going forward and negotiate a shared responsibility for resolution from both parties. Aim to find a best solution that respects the needs of the business as well as other employees.
Compromises may need to be made, so it’s wise to establish the “points of agreement.” Such points could be:
- Patient care is the priority.
- We all want to achieve harmony in the workplace.
- Interpersonal conflict is disruptive and harmful to the group dynamic and productivity.
Once this conflict is resolved, put some procedures into place that will help prevent conflicts in the future. In addition to offering your team members seminars in conflict resolution, you could try the following:
- Encourage your team to bring issues out in the open before they become conflicts.
- Put a process in place that ensures that conflicts are dealt with sooner rather than later.
- Work to notice the things that tend to trigger a conflict and respond to them ASAP when they take place.
- Keep expectations in line with job descriptions and make sure that members of your team understand their responsibilities.
- Establish a policy against gossip and engaging other people in negative feelings about mutual coworkers.
Also, be sure to give praise when praise is warranted. Conflict among co-workers tends to dissipate in a work environment in which employees feel appreciated.
Need help with staffing your hospital or healthcare facility? Then contact Med-Scribe, Inc. We’ll help you find great employees for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire assignments. We look forward to hearing from you.