Courses to Navigate you Through Shark-Infested Waters of Conflict

By: Phyllis Class, RN, Executive Director, Allied Health CE at Gannett Education
Phyllis has 25 years of management experience. She still hates drama.

Phyllis Class, RN

Fresh out of retorts and with my back against the wall, I finally called a stalemate by uttering the “W” word. Even the manager who pushed me to the edge that day so long ago confessed that he knew the battle was over when I declared, “Whatever!”

There are places where you should say what you think, but the workplace is often not one of them. But then what are the alternatives? Diplomacy, “I” statements, a cooling-off period, deep breathing and yoga classes are merely coping mechanisms for facing a difficult professional situation. Dealing with team members of various disciplines and with different personalities can be challenging, to say the least. And as a manager, I often wonder if I’m being fair and objective when I find myself in the middle of such a situation.

In nursing school, we studied obstetrics, pediatrics and med/surg, but nobody ever taught us how to get along with other people. My journalism classes stressed the Five Ws — who, what, why, when and where — but did not explain how to play nice in the sandbox. I got by with my “Why Can’t We All Get Along?” philosophy of human interaction. I just hate drama.

Apparently, I’m not alone. Research shows that 60% to 80% of an organization’s conflict results from frayed employee relationships, not from lack of skill or motivation.1 And the Washington Business Journal reported in 2005 that the typical manager spends from 25% to 40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflict. What a waste of time.

Along the way, I’ve learned that “whatever” is not a solution. The following courses contain strategies that have helped me navigate the shark-infested waters of conflict. After all, we could all use a little help along the way.

Courses to Help Navigate you Through Shark-Infested Waters of Conflict:

Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Harmonize Diversity Through Personality Sensitivity
Creating a personality sensitive workplace can help to promote harmony.

Staying Cool Under Fire: How Well Do You Communicate?
Learn how to manage workplace communication challenges by employing strategies to communicate with angry people.

Surviving and Thriving with Conflict on the Job
To effectively deal with workplace conflict, learn about its dynamics.

The Rap on Rapport: The Door to Therapeutic Communication
Explore the dynamics of rapport, including the use of body language.

1 Dana D. Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home. 4th ed. Prairie Village, Kansas: MTI Publishers; 2005.

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4 Responses to Courses to Navigate you Through Shark-Infested Waters of Conflict

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I think most of the issues that arise relate to the patient & their families. Illness, stress and guilt make the biggest asses out of some people, and enhance others that are so already. I found throughout my time as an aide and RN, these were more difficult to deal with than any co-worker or boss. I’ve been very fortunate to have had extremely competent and committed co-workers & managers who typically didn’t sweat the small stuff.

  2. Kara says:

    I have found “Dealing with team members of various disciplines and with different personalities can be challenging, to say the least.” After years of working as a CNA, LPN & RN, as well as in Management, I found many hungry powered egos out there. At my current job I stay out of the politics as much as possible, avoid the gossip, strictly stay focused at the tasks at hand while working within the scope of my practice. This is probably the longest jobs I’ve wanted to stay on to date. =)

  3. Linda says:

    The truly sad thing in nursing is the disappearance of collegialism–when I first became a nurse it was welcoming with older more experienced nurses more than happy to work with newbies–but as years have passed and it’s turned into a business there’s more of a watch your back atmosphere. Bullying is out of control and the “gotcha” attitude abides. I remember supervisors who called you in to say what a good job you had done–today it’s more like a visit to the principal’s office. It was once an encouraging world. Now it is truly a world where the young are eaten! I remain a proud RN, but I am saddened by the changed attitudes.

    • Mindy says:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. There are so many people in positions now that probably should not have been placed there. Egos and attitudes run rampant where I worked last. Needless to say the drama was neverending. There was never any “good job” or “thank you’s” even during nurses week by management. The only time you hear from management is when you are called on the carpet for something trivial or you were so overextended you had no time to complete a task and left it for another. I love being a nurse but can do without the attitudes and egos that many have acquired after taking a management position. It appears they have forgotten what its like to work as a team, but remember the “every man for himself/herself.”

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