Think of a conflict you were involved in at work. What resolution technique would have helped in your situation? Did the conflict ever get resolved and if so, how?
Considering the conflict I spoke of in discussion #3, I am torn between 3 of the techniques; accommodating, negotiating and confronting. I feel I personally used the confronting technique as I had to shut it down to protect my students and their learning and I was not in a position at that time to compromise since their request and issue to begin with was inappropriate. I do feel the charge nurse used the wrong conflict resolution, she wanted me to compromise and change my assignment since it would be easier in her eyes instead of addressing her staff member’s attitude. I do not feel she should have allow the staff member to carry on the way she did. I feel it settled but the staff member obviously did not agree with the outcome.
It sounds like you did a great job at using the confronting technique in that situation. Although not everyone’s desires were met, I think you put the importance of your student’s learning experience first, while communicating this in a respectful way that was well thought out and sounded clearly articulated.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the scenario where you use one of these strategies to mange conflict.
The return-to-work policy: last summer as we contemplated implementing a return-to-work policy. This was part of the roll out.
As a family health team organization, we work independently from the doctors that are part of our organization. This translates to each doctor’s office is independent and funded separately than the services we provide, but we share a similar care model for the clients we serve. We currently have some doctors that have not opened up their offices since the initial shutdown, relying mainly on phone and virtual coverage, where as others have stayed open through out and had a combined in-person, phone and virtual model. Initially our service programs at the family health team were all closed and staff were re-directed to help support the COVID testing centres and later vaccination clinics. Some programs moved to virtual / phone appointments and some closed for a while then later re-opened. An example would be our foot care and wound care team began seeing clients in person shortly after initially closing and our mental health team is currently still seeing clients through phone and virtually.
Discussion have begun within our teams to potentially move back to in-person appointments. Some of our regulated staff, differ in opinion and desire. We have some that do not want to move back to in-person appointments, they enjoy the work from home model and feel the client outcome is similar if not the same as in person. Other staff feel we need to move to a mixed model of care, some in person and some virtual/phone as desired by the client. Then there are other staff that feel we need to all be back in clinic with in person only. Mainly this group is made up of staff that continued to see clients during the initial closure and only provide in person services. It has been cited as a method of fairness to all we should all move back to in person appointments.
Initially we polled all staff to see how things were going as a check in. We then asked the regulated staff to go back to each of their colleges and report on recommendations for direction to add to the discussion. This method was used to help ensure everyone had a voice in the upcoming re-opening plans. Team meetings were also used as a point of contact to discuss re-opening and what that model could potentially look like. Along the way reminders were given that although we had some wiggle room with what our re-opening plan may look like; ultimately our board and the government would dictate that plan to us.
In taking the time to listen and empathize with each group and each staff member we helped to understand each point of view to the best of our ability. We made the effort to ensure that we heard each side rather than have them hear our position. While communicating our concerns and opinions with each member we remembered to bring our points back to the issue at hand. Following up on any conflict with criticism over opposite perspectives or beliefs, rather than empathy and validation will likely breakdown and lessen any chance of coming to a mutually agreeable solution.
Also, in this discussion I strive to remember that the person on the other side is just that―a person and everyone has been impacted differently by Covid. As such, everyone’s opinions and voice should be respected, regardless if we disagreed with them. We also found it helped while we were working toward resolution to stay calm and positive, to celebrate each step of progress we were making in coming closer to a mutual solution, and keep the focus on moving forward as a team rather than ruminating on past issues.
A meeting is scheduled soon with our board where we / I will present all of the key findings and propose a re-opening plan. As of now we are leaning towards a mixed model of care, with work life balance in mind. We are trying to incorporate a balance between in person visits and virtual / phone when it makes sense for some programs. Most are happy with the proposal but we did need to compromise for some. Final word will come from the government as to how we officially will move forward with opening again.
The Return to work policy. I am impressed with how your organization handled the smooth transition(i hope). It was indeed a huge struggle for all of us during the pandemic. Almost everything we do is through virtual. I remember during the first year of pandemic I had severe migraine attacks that my doctor referred me to a neurologist but my neurologist can only do virtual appointment, she said she could not diagnose me well because its hard to do it online, ideally I have to be examined in person. As for the return to work policy after 2 years of shutdown, I know their was a lot to consider as well since most office workers got used to the working from home set-up except for frontline workers of course. It was a lot of work for everyone to get adjusted after pandemic but I think its worth it to feel the normalcy again.
It’s great to hear that your organization is seeking feedback to hear the thoughts and opinions of staff before coming to a decision. Is there a resolution technique from the article by Kelly, P. & Crawford, H. (2012) that you feel this approach would fit in to if you were to categorize it?
I believe this really fits into a few different categories. By gaining imput from the different teams I believe we were employing a form of negoation and collaborting, but the end result will be a form of accomodating as our board has the ultimate decision. They may take the plan we have presented as the policy or modify it some way.
A few years ago I worked with another LPN in the Dementia Unit in a nursing home. She was just hired and I was task to orient her on a evening shift. When I was showing her how to do the evening shift duties and responsibilities she kept commenting and giving suggestion on how to do the job. I told her this is how we do it here. She started telling me she has been a nurse for a long time as if indirectly saying she knows better. I am a person that avoids conflict and I shy away from conflict so avoiding resolution technique was what I did. She did finished her orientation with other LPNs in different units and they almost have same experience like me. We vented our observation to one of our colleagues and she reported to the Nurse- in- charge. The new LPN worked for a month and after that we never saw her again. Apparently she was fired due to other reasons.
Thanks for your post! Conflict can be hard to address. It’s something you may become more comfortable doing over time as you gain experience and become more confident in your role and at your organization. If that time does come, these readings are excellent resources to help navigate some of the challenges of addressing conflict; I hope you find them helpful!
Thanks for your contributions to the discussion this week!
Thank you Veronica for sharing your experience. Do you still shy away from conflict? What have you learned from this situation? Would you handle it differently knowing what you know now about conflict?
Currently, I face challenges with balancing conflict between myself (the manager) vs. employee (a staff member) as I delicately balance the authority and responsibility I have given my position as to not cross the boundary which can be viewed as horizontal bullying.
Having an open door policy, being present and visible on the floor, connecting with staff, participating in team building actives certainly help foster positivity, respect and care for the team but there is always that one bad apple who spoils it for the rest of the team. How do you confront the bad apples without being grieved by the union? How do you support the bad apple who resists the changes you wish to implement without being criticized for it? How do you support the bad apple who brings negative energy to the team/new hires? How many times can you go to HR for help? How much crap does the manager have to take before something is done about this employee? Where do we draw the line? to discipline vs terminate?
Conflict resolution really depends on who the conflict is with. Some people that I disagree with I can just say “I disagree and here’s why…”.
We discuss, come to agreement or at least both feel heard. Other situations are not so easily sorted.
A recent conflict I was involved with was between the nursing staff and dietary staff. Dietary staff insisted that the PSWs I was supervising had to be in the dining room 30 minutes earlier. The PSWs had a staff member permanently removed from their compliment so they fought this saying they didn’t have time. Both departments looked to me to solve this but continued doing what they thought was right. I asked for clarification from several managers. They talked back and forth but didn’t provide any real guidance for at least a month. There are ministry guidelines, care plans and shift duties that all have to be considered. Management finally came up with a plan, informed some staff involved and informed me so that I could enforce it. It took a long time and required a lot of peace-keeping in the meantime.