Resolving Conflicts in High-Stress Jobs

Everybody at one time or another has experienced stress and conflict in the workplace. You can’t work in close spaces with the same people day in and day out and always get along perfectly. It’s especially a fact of life in high-stress situations like health care jobs. We’ve all seen situations where different people with different goals and needs come into conflict. We’ve seen those situations escalate to where personal animosity gets built up to uncomfortable levels.

We want all of our Concorde students and graduates working in harmony. So we researched and found a good blog at the website, www.reliableplant.com, that detailed how to resolve workplace conflict. Here are some highlights of that blog.

How to resolve conflict in health care jobs

Effective conflict resolution skills can make the difference between positive and negative outcomes. The good news is that by resolving conflict successfully, you can solve many of the problems that it has brought to the surface, as well as gain benefits that you might not at first expect, such as:

  • Increased understanding: Expanding people’s awareness of the situation, giving them insight into how to achieve their own goals without stepping on the toes of others.
  • Increased group cohesion: Developing stronger mutual respect and faith that the group can work together.
  • Improved self-knowledge: Conflict often causes individuals to self-reflect on how they can do things better.

Common reasons for workplace conflict

Below are a few of the most common reasons for workplace conflict:

  1. Interpersonal conflict – This is usually caused by opposing personalities or personality clashes that can be caused by many factors such as jealousy, envy or simply a dislike of someone. Prejudices based on religious, racial or sexual differences also can lead to this type of conflict.
  2. Structural conflict – This is when departments have differing needs and wants and are not able to compromise.
  3. Differing goals – This is when departments have differing goals, and each department is working independently to achieve their goals.
  4. Mutual dependence of departments – This is when two departments are dependent on each other, and the failure of either department affects the other.
  5. Role dissatisfaction – Departments or individuals who feel they’re not receiving enough recognition or status can cause conflicts.
  6. Dependence on common resources – Conflicts can arise when one department feels it’s getting the short end of the budget.
  7. Communication barriers – This often occurs in organizations that have branch offices due to the geographical separation that makes consistent and timely communication impossible.

Three strategies for conflict resolution in health care jobs

The following are three strategies for conflict resolution that can work in health care jobs or any other:

Use active listening. It’s easy during a conflict, especially when emotions get heated, to only want to talk and get your point heard rather than actually listening to what the other person is saying. Try to listen, stay objective and be non-judgmental.

Deal with conflict collaboratively. Get all parties involved in a neutral environment to facilitate conflict resolution. Give all parties a chance to tell his or her side of the situation without interruption. Analyze the problem from each person’s perspective and collaboratively develop solutions.

Clearly state expectations for future behavior. Clearly state the damage done to the organization as a result of employee conflict and the consequences for future inappropriate behavior.

It is important to remember that a manager’s role in conflict resolution is that of mediator. The manager must remain impartial and cannot enter the situation with preconceived opinions or ideas about who’s right and who’s wrong in a situation. Mediating a conflict is challenging, but it comes with the territory of being a manager. Your willingness to appropriately intervene sets the stage for your own success.

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