How to Resolve Conflict at Work: Healthcare Industry

September 21, 2019by Vanessa Rose

How to resolve conflict at work when the work environment is high in stress? Healthcare workers understand this predicament given the high-crisis nature of their work. Since the conflict in these environments can impact critical situations or alter the care available to patients in need, it’s important to stay on top of any disputes that erupt amongst employees.

How to Resolve Conflict at Work

In a stressful environment such as healthcare, employees are likely to be overwhelmed and overworked. This can encourage a unique approach to conflict resolution which decreases the vulnerabilities of your employees with early intervention, skills training, and collaboration. If you’re managing a team in the healthcare industry and want to manage or avoid conflict, here are some steps you can take to manage conflict in healthcare workplace environments.

Prevent Conflict

Resolving conflict at work sometimes starts before it even begins. One helpful approach is to get ahead of the conflict and prevent it from happening in the first place. Reducing the workplace vulnerabilities that can spark a dispute help keep reactivity lower. This can include making sure your employees have appropriate caseloads, break time, and resources to support their patients to the best of their ability without facing moral injury or burnout. Burnout makes employees vulnerable to conflict because they become more cynical about their role and its effectiveness, dampening morale all around.

Teach Conflict Resolution Skills

When figuring out how to resolve conflict at work, recognize you don’t have to do it all on your own. Naming the industry’s proclivity for tension and conflict can help empower your employees to identify it and manage it in its early stages when it does arrive. Holding a meeting where you discuss the human nature of workplace conflict, ways to spot it, and ways to handle it can help reduce the damage that will be done when it sparks. It may also help limit the need for managerial involvement if employees are able to self-regulate. This can also lend itself to workplace culture optimization and even enhance the skills of your practitioners and clinicians in their work with patients.

Enforce a Code of Conduct

One of the most common conflict resolution methods in the workplace is to be clear about conduct expectations from the start. There will be some obvious things to note but you can tailor your policies to include helpful resources employees can access if they’re feeling overwhelmed and need help managing it. This can help reduce vulnerability in the workplace, as well. As healthcare workplaces are often filled with employees of varying expertise, your code of conduct may include specific items about how turf wars won’t be tolerated and that an environment of mutual respect is paramount to a successful work environment. So whether it’s a conflict among nurses or a doctor disputing with a receptionist, there are ways to ensure issues are worked out respectfully.

Interfere in Conflict Early

When the problem has already arisen and you’re trying to figure out how to resolve conflict at work, get involved sooner rather than later. Some employers find themselves holding back, hoping things settle on their own. And it may just work. If not, this can create damaging results. Instead, acknowledge the tension, reflect what you’re observing, listen empathically, reiterate expectations of employee conduct, if appropriate, and offer resources and support before things escalate. Managing conflict in healthcare workplace environments can be difficult given the nature of the job, but it can be done and it can even strengthen relationships if done well.

You don’t have to figure out how to resolve conflict at work in high-stress environments on your own. Get support from the professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions today to get the right kind of resolution for your workplace.

How to Resolve Conflict at Work healthcare

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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