Conflict among co-workers can be inevitable. This is especially true in work environments that require a high level of productivity. In long-term care, your nurses and healthcare staff have the health and well-being of residents in their hands, which can be stressful — and tensions can arise.

As a manager, knowing how to handle conflict in the workplace is one of your greatest skills. You must keep harmony within your team, while reminding everyone of the rules and to respect the professional opinions of others. Here’s what you can do when conflict rears its ugly head.

Key steps in conflict resolution

During an employee squabble, follow these steps to restore peace:

  1. Separate the staff members. Whether it’s a minor disagreement or a full-on yelling match, tempers are flaring and your workers need to calm down. This is best accomplished by removing the nurses or healthcare workers from the present situation and letting them get some distance from each other.

  2. Speak with them individually. There are two or more sides to every story, and you can get a clearer picture of what happened by talking one-on-one with each person involved in the conflict. You’ll need to remain an objective third party, but will be able to get a better idea of what happened and why.

  3. Outline the consequences of their actions. In times of conflict, you’ll need to lend an ear but also be “the heavy” who reminds your staff of your expectations. If any rules were broken in the altercation, you’ll need to bring this up — but also remind your staff that everyone is expected to be a level-headed professional for the good of the patients and the entire organization. Conflict can harm the team synergy and work environment since everyone must work together. Continued conflict can result in warnings, probation or even termination, based on your facility’s policy. Depending on the nature of the conflict, you may also need to involve human resources.

  4. Speak as a group to resolve the issue. Once you’ve taken all employees’ opinions into consideration, you’ll need to hold a team meeting and discuss how to resolve the issue as a group. It can help to have an idea in mind, present this to the group and then modify it based on their feedback. Be sure not to single any employees out or make examples of them — this can add to tension within your team.

The good news?

Conflict resolution can often make your team stronger. It can help you uncover policies or procedures that may need to be amended. It can also help your staff understand each other and work together as a team.

In need of new workers?

Unfortunately, ongoing conflict can also lead to the need for termination if a resolution is not reached. And if you’re in need o29f healthcare staff supplementation, Clinical Resources can help. We place nurses and other healthcare staff with positions across the country. To learn more, contact our experienced recruiters today!