Managing Through Team Conflicts: Five Do’s and Don’ts

Conflict is not always a bad thing. It can be constructive and healthy under the right circumstances, adding to a diverse and high-functioning team. Differing viewpoints, when taken into consideration, can help you achieve stronger output and plan for many possible outcomes. When conflicts occur, it’s when your medical staff don’t agree with each other—and it’s worth examining why someone is objecting. When managed properly, conflict can be a positive thing.

The danger of unmanaged conflict

When poorly managed, conflict can decrease morale and productivity, destroy teams structure and could even impact the quality of patient care. That’s why it’s important to develop the right leadership skills to harness conflicts within your team and use them to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know.

How to handle facility conflict

Healthcare conflict management is about being direct with your travel RNs and your permanent staff. To resolve conflicts between nurses, you must be able to understand and appreciate the different viewpoints of your workers and encourage them to do the same. So if you’re wondering how to manage travel nurses, simply follow these five tips:

  1. Acknowledge what happened. The first step in issue resolution is being upfront. If you see two nurses arguing or your workers come to you with an issue, determine who is involved and speak to them.
  2. Communicate with all parties involved. This will include speaking to all involved as a group, letting them know you would like to gain a better understanding of what has happened, but the conflict will be resolved. Be sure all nurses agree to work together on a solution. Then, meet with each nurse 1:1 to get their take on the story.
  3. Remain impartial. Conflict resolution will require you to treat everyone involved equally. Therefore, you must remain as a third party and not get emotionally involved. You’re simply on a fact-finding mission to determine the problem so you can lead the process of brainstorming a solution.
  4. Divide out facts and assumptions. When you’ve spoken with all nurses involved in the conflict, make a list that separates facts from beliefs. What actually happened versus what nurses may have perceived as what happened. This will help you get a better idea not only of the conflict, but of possible solutions.
  5. Work together to reach an agreement. Schedule more time with all nurses involved and discuss the situation. Present one or more possible solutions, and be ready to highlight the benefits your solution provides each party. This step will most likely include compromise. Set aside enough time for open discussion. Once a solution is reached, get each nurse’s word they will honor it.

Five pitfalls to avoid with team conflicts

  1. Ignoring the problem. Ignoring a problem does NOT make it go away. This can result in the issue escalating.
  2. Taking sides. Remain an impartial third party to remain fair to your staff and not cloud your judgment.
  3. Getting emotionally involved. It’s not your conflict and you are acting as the facilitator towards a solution. Nothing more and nothing less.
  4. Changing your tune. Listen carefully and with an open mind. Be resolute in all statements you make—do not be wishy-washy or reverse course.
  5. Failing to reinforce your final decision. Once a solution is reached, hold your nurses to their promise. If the issue arises again, take swift action in bringing it to their attention.

It just takes practice

As with other management skills, conflict resolution is a learned skill. The more you work on it, the easier it will be.

How to find a travel nurse recruiter

Once you know how to manage travel workers, you may find yourself ready to add to your staff. And MedPro Healthcare Staffing can help! We’ll work with you to understand your staffing needs and find top travel nurses. To learn more, call MedPro Healthcare Staffing today at 1-800-866-8108 or request more information below.

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