Scenario Analysis: Conflict resolution in healthcare
Conflict resolution is a common workplace occurrence that can either strengthen or disrupt the organizational or leadership momentum. Leaders significantly contribute to a toxic workplace environment when they allow conflict to fester instead of handling it. Leaders need to understand the larger ecosystem in which the individuals causing the conflict operate for them to effectively manage a conflict. Another significant factor to consider is the effects of conflict resolution on the entire ecosystem. Nursing leaders are tasked with guiding their subordinates and creating a healthy work environment where employees interact with the leaders freely. Resolving a healthy conflict before it festers into disruptive chaos is an effective way of creating a healthy work environment. With respect to the second scenario, Parking Protest, this paper provides a critical analysis of the conflict presented therein, and the appropriate recommendations for resolving the situation.
Conflict resolution tool used
As a nursing manager of the community health unit, it is important to have excellent communication skills. However, it is more imperative to use a systematic approach in resolving workplace conflicts successfully as it provides significant energy for increasing the effectiveness of conflict resolution in future (Van Aken & Berends, 2018). In this scenario, there is conflict between the health facility management and the staff regarding their distant parking space. The employees feel that the parking space to located too far from the healthcare facility, and this hinders their movement to community visits. On the other hand, the management has not addressed this issue, probably because the healthcare facility has limited parking space. I would use the six-step problem solving approach to resolve the situation.
The first step in the problem-solving approach method is making the approach. This is the step where a leader, who is the mediator, makes the fist impression. This is a significant step as the content of the messages and the tone in which it is conveyed has a n impact on the receivers’ response (Van Aken & Berends, 2018). In this step, the leader presents the issue at hand and invites the parties involved to feel comfortable and participate. As a nurse manager, I would first acknowledge the presence of my audience and assure them that I will facilitate a proper discussion to ensure the issue is brough to the attention of a higher management. I would assure them that the resources in the facility are meant to be used by the workers there and that I appreciate their being vocal about the issues that concern them. This way, I would be creating a friendly atmosphere for the members to contribute their views of the presenting issue. It is easier in this case since the employees have a vocal RN representing them, therefore, all communications are channeled here.
The second step is to share perspectives on similarities and differences. I would ask for the employee’s views on the issue of parking six blocks away. I would use techniques such as paraphrasing to demonstrate that I was actively listening and that I have understood their message (Ibrayeva, 2015). Paraphrasing further ensures that all parties have a similar understanding of the issue at hand (Ibrayeva, 2015). For instance, I would say “from what I gather, you are not comfortable with parking six blocks away since it inconveniences your trips to the community visits.”. Since perspectives tend to differ in a conflict, I would acknowledge my positive and negative contributions to the situation as a nurse manager. I would point out that the management decided that the parking space within the health facility be reserved for the management and health facility transport, and that it was selfish of the management not to consider a closer parking spot for the employees. I would also acknowledge that both parties want convenience for executing their activities.
The third step is to build understanding regarding the presented issue. According to Proctor (2018), resolving a conflict from a point of agreement is a significant step as it places the involved parties on the same level and focuses on the similarities and common beliefs. It is from this point that the involved parties examine their different opinions, and the factors that contribute to them. Additionally, this step involves clarification of intent, the impacts of each action that will be taken and the true issues at hand (Ibrayeva, 2015). Individual intents and impacts of actions remain invisible to the public eye. While someone might be aware of other people’s actions on them, other people might not be aware of how their actions impact others (Proctor, 2018). However, clarifying the true issues at hand ensures that there is great understanding among the parties involved. The issues should be presented in a simple, clear and neutral language to clear out any assumptions and communicate the interests and feelings of each party regarding the issue.
As a nurse manager, I would apply my sensitivity and creativity to facilitate an agreement on ground rules, summarize the interests of each party, and brainstorm options. I would also emphasize on the risks and benefits of each party. In this case, the risks would be increased financial cost of parking near the health facility, risks of causing road accidents since the area is mainly used by pedestrians and congestion. The benefits would be increased convenience of going to the community visits.
The fourth step is to agree on doable and durable solutions. After successfully building understanding, it is easier for each party to place themselves in each other’s shoes and negotiate respectfully on a doable and durable agreement (Proctor, 2018). Each party has to compromise on some interests to ensure that the solution maximizes on the interests presented. For example, in this case, the management can compromise on the increased financial costs and accommodate a few vehicles near the healthcare facility. In turn, the employees would have also compromised on only few of them being able to park near the healthcare facility, on a “first-come-first-served” basis. This way, the issue of congestion would be taken care of and the risk of having an accident would be greatly reduced. By coming to this agreement, both parties would be able to satisfy their interests for a long time.
The fifth step is planning for implementation. This step involves communicating strategies that would ensure each party’s interest are addressed. It is still important to communicate this in a simple language that is free of judgment (Ibrayeva, 2015). As soon as both parties agree on the solution, I would facilitate another discussion on the steps required to implement the solution. This would involve collaboration with other departments and clear communication and feedback generation between the management and the employees (Ibrayeva, 2015). Collaboration with the technical and financial department would be necessary in creating more parking space for employees and implementing the solution. I would also ensure progress report is communicated to the employees on a weekly basis via the organization’s official email address.
The last step is to reassess and revise the implementation plan. The management team reassesses the implementation plan and the process, and makes the necessary adjustment. This entails reevaluating the communication strategies and their effectiveness, and the collaborations made. There are challenges bound to come in during the implementation process and to overcome them, proper communication and feedback generation need to be established (Ibrayeva, 2015). Regular physical follow-up and meeting with the collaborating group is also necessary to ensure timely implementation of the solution. In the event that obstacles are experienced, appropriate adjustments can be made to ensure that the implementation plan is not totally ruined. In this problem-solving approach, regular reevaluation of the processes, which entails sharing, informing, agreeing, implementing and reevaluating, is vital in increasing the effectiveness of the implementation plan (Proctor, 2018).
Recommendations to resolve the situation
Several recommendations would be necessary to ensure complete resolution of the issue of employees parking six blocks away from the hospital. First, as a manager I would inform the collaborating departments of the actions required to be taken to implement the solution. I would ensure effective communication with the technical department as they work on increasing the parking space nearer to the healthcare facility. The financial department would be involved in calculating and adjusting the increased expenses due to expansion of parking space.
Second, an internal memo should be written to inform all employees including those who might have missed from the meeting of the adjustments that will be made regarding the new parking space. The memo would be placed on strategic positions where the facility’s notice boards are located to ensure everyone gets the message. The employees would utilize it on a “first-come-first-served” basis. Therefore, they should make efforts to arrive early to avoid inconveniences. Third, clear communication to the parties involved via emails and phone calls should be made to ensure timely feedback and avoid miscommunication and subsequent impairment of the implementation process.
Leaders earn the respect of their employees when they act responsibly and guide others in gaining their full potential. One of the ways in which a leader can develop his/her subordinates’ potential is identifying conflicts when they are still healthy and resolving them before they turn into disruptive chaos. By doing so, they contribute to the creation of a healthy work environment. The problem-solving method of conflict resolution is used to align the different perspectives, interests, and expectations of conflicting parties to successfully manage conflicts. The method is a common tool of conflict resolution that involves six steps. The steps include making the approach by inviting the conflicting parties, sharing the different perspectives of the conflicting parties, understanding the intents, impacts and the true issues at hand, agreeing on doable and durable solutions, planning for implementation, and reevaluating the implementation activities.
Ibrayeva, E. (2015). Effective communication skills in conflict management. European Science, (4), 11-13. Retrieved from https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=23751834
Proctor, T. (2018). Creative problem solving for managers: developing skills for decision making and innovation. Routledge.
Van Aken, J. E., & Berends, H. (2018). Problem solving in organizations. Cambridge university press.
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