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INTRODUCTION

After her meeting with Yvette Jones, Kim Brown closed her door and took out her notes from the earlier conversation with Simon Peters. She realized that the next step would be very important. Both Simon and Yvette were good nurses and both had added depth to her department. But their personal conflict reflected deeper concerns than just a clash of styles or personalities. She knew that Dr. Phillips and his patient, Mrs. Alma Cruz, were not the only ones aware of the situation. Kim also knew that there would soon be rumors about who did what and why it mattered. And she knew that her own reputation as a nursing manager was involved.

She thought for a moment and then dialed Drew Johnson, the head of Employee Relations.

Okay, Drew. I've met with both my nurses and now I'd like to take you up on your offer to work with me on this situation. I've scheduled a meeting with both of them for 2:30 this afternoon, so if you are available, I'd like to go over my thoughts about how to conduct the joint meeting.

Drew responded:

Glad to. I'll come over in about 20 minutes. I just have to finish up a report for Radha. I'm really glad you called.

STAGE TWO IN GREATER DETAIL

Stage Two of The Exchange is vital to the success of the process. It is the opportunity for the facilitator to reflect on what has been said by each individual and to devise an agenda based on conflict-resolution strategies that encompass both the joint conversation of Stage Three and the problem-solving process that occurs in Stage Four. Some of the things that need to be considered are:

  • The role of the manager. Kim is obviously a stakeholder in this conflict; that is, she is not only affected by the conflict but she has a clear interest in its satisfactory resolution. So she is not neutral. The conflict has to be resolved and she is the one responsible for that resolution. But her success, the department's success, and ultimately the employees' success depends on their participation in the problem-solving process.

    A key principle of conflict resolution is that when people participate in the process, they will have a stake in the outcome. Involving Simon and Yvette constructively will be important. Part of Kim's job will be to convince them not only that she is sincere but also that she has not made a personal judgment about who is to blame—who is "right" and who is "wrong."

    Managers should and do clarify hospital policy, procedures, and acceptable workplace behavior to employees on an ongoing basis; there is a "right" and "wrong," in this regard. This is to be distinguished from judging employees' personal reactions and feelings, which have no right or wrong. All of us react negatively to ...

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