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How to Handle Workplace Conflicts

The Doctor's Office, February 19, 2009

The following are some conflict-reducing techniques outlined during Physician Health Services' seminar "Managing Workplace Conflict: Improving Personal Effectiveness" held in November 2008.

The techniques provide an overview of how to effectively reduce conflict in a healthcare setting by outlining how both sides can handle the problem to reach a peaceful conclusion:

Review the facts:

  • How does your story differ from the other side's?
  • Where do your data come from?
  • Know your assumptions
  • Realize it takes two to tango
  • Use honesty
  • Inquire, inquire Delay discussion when necessary

Handle emotions with care:

  • Is there too much emotion or too little?
  • Don't counterpunch
  • Know when to back off
  • Sense when your temper is rising and practice self-calming

Work with meanings:

  • Reframe the problem
  • Brainstorm possible solutions
  • Define mutually acceptable outcomes
  • See and express the problem as a neutral consultant might
  • Show respect

Adapted from Physician Health Services' seminar "Managing Workplace Conflict: Improving Personal Effectiveness." This article originally ran in the February 2009 issue of The Doctor's Office, a HealthLeaders Media publication.