Imagine that you are a leadership consultant.
Use your example of conflict in your professional practice (from Week 4 Discussion 1: Conflict in the Workplace) (see below ) and build on the readings, videos, and peer input you received.
Critically analyze the situation and create a plan that would have helped to resolve the conflict and promote collaboration among the group.
Your plan should include a minimum of five scholarly references not counting assigned texts, and be 7 to 8 pages long (page count does not include the cover or references list). Review your conflict scenario and include the following:
Comprehension: Review the details of the conflict scenario, identifying the type and effects of the conflict.
Application: Relate course content on delegation, empowerment, group dynamics, and constructive group roles and behaviors to the identified conflict scenario.
Analysis/Synthesis: Clarify understanding of the internal and external variables contributing to the conflict. Create a plan that would have helped to resolve the conflict and promote a high- functioning health care team. Resolve Conflict /Promote Collaboration Essay
Evaluation: Summarize the value of effective conflict- resolution skills for the nurse leader.
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Week 4 Discussion
The example of conflict that I am posting about happened recently in the emergency room where I work. During the Covid outbreak we are noticing our census of regular sick patients to be considerably lower than normal. Management has been trying to beef up staffing to safely take care of our Covid patients as well as the normal day-to-day sick people, but sometimes this can be challenging. We came on to shift with an unusually low census, just 3 patients. This was the case for a couple more hours. We were barely getting a single patient an hour signing in. Around 9am, the Charge Nurse (I’ll call her Jackie) inquired to see if any of the RN’s wanted to go home early, if possible, and was also calling oncoming staff to cancel or push back their arrival time. During all this, the unit clerk (I’ll call Lisa) who sits next to Jackie, decided she would like to go home. When she asked Jackie, she was told that it is possible, but too early to tell at the moment, and would re-evaluate a little later. About an hour later, Lisa asked again and Jackie’s reply was still, it’s too early to decide. Our census started to improve, but was still on the light side. Another hour passed and Lisa started to get annoyed/mad that nurses were being sent home but she was not and she was verbally venting this at a volume that was heard by many people and patients. Jackie noticed Lisa’s emotions were starting to escalate and then told her she would be able to go home after lunch breaks when the CNA would take over the desk. Lisa was so wrapped up in her emotional state that she lashed out at Jackie and yelled “Why can’t I just leave now?” “You just don’t want to do two jobs because you are lazy”. She stomped around and continued to mumble under her breath how displeased she is for several minutes. Jackie was able to keep her own emotions in check and was able to recognize that the unit clerk was not able to calm down and listen to her reason. This is when the charge nurse told her she can leave.
The nurse definitely displayed a lot of restraint and emotional competence. Emotional competence is necessary for attaining effective leadership. Erdenk & Altuntas (2017), describes conflict as internal disharmony between two or more people caused by difference in thinking, values and emotion. This is an interpersonal or relational conflict between Jackie’s need for control as a charge nurse with Lisa’s need for control, which are incompatible. Huber (2018), states relational conflict over control issues develop when there is a clash between the needs for control that one person has at a given time and the needs for control that others have at that same time. Both want to be in control of the outcome. Jackie needs to be in control of the staffing decisions in her department and Lisa wants to be in charge of herself. According to (Beitler et al.), research findings show the importance of older employees in an organization. Older people manage conflict better as compared to younger ones. With Jackie being a little older, and having several kids of her own, helped her manage the tantrum that Lisa was having and remained calm during the situation which was then resolved. Resolve Conflict /Promote Collaboration Essay
Resolving Conflict and Promoting Collaboration
Every individual has a perspective and is capable of independent ideas that can be presented in a group setting. Sometimes these perspectives can be considered offensive or can be opposed thereby creating for conflict. The complexity of any group as a result of differences of interests, opinions or perception can create conflicts. In fact, conflict is not uncommon in group/team situations. Within any group, conflicts are not considered as possibilities, rather they are perceived as realities and eventualities. They are inevitable and can be good for the team if resolves in a professional manner to promote growth. If not well managed, conflicts have the potential to hinder the team from achieving its objectives, not to talk of causing the team to break down. If well managed, a conflict has the potential to enable the team to reach its full potential. As members of health care teams, nurses can manage the conflicts within their teams to ensure better collaboration (Mashall & Broome, 2017). The present analysis explores a conflict situation and its causes, and suggests strategies for resolving the conflict.
The conflict situation occurred in an emergency room care setting. Low patient volumes caused the charge nurse to suggest that some of the nurses could go home early. However, one of the nurses who sought to go home was constantly delayed by being told to wait. This caused her to ‘lash out’ at the charge nurse, using offensive language and failing to maintain the proper decorum by speaking out in a loud voice. The charge nurse eventually allowed the nurse to leave early.
The presented situation describes an interpersonal/relational conflict since it occurred in a workplace interaction where there was a perceived opposing viewpoints. The charge nurse felt that enough nurses had gone home and the rest would have to wait to guard against eventualities such as a sudden influx of patients. On the other hand, the nurse felt that she was being targeted as others had been allowed to go home early and yet she was constantly being delayed and told to wait even when there was no work to be done. The conflict was a manifestation of the disagreement between the two. In addition, the conflict was expressed verbally through a very obvious blowout in which the nurse loudly lashed out at the charge nurse, accusing a direct superior of being lazy. Besides that, the nurse lashing out was an indication of a lack of trust that a healthy and open discussion would resolve the conflict (Erdenk & Altuntas, 2017; Bojeun, 2014) Resolve Conflict /Promote Collaboration Essay.
Although the conflict situation does not present the effects of the conflict, they can be inferred. The first effect is reduced understanding of others at work. The two conflicting parties failed to understand each other. The nurse did not understand why the charge nurse failed to release her from work early. The second effect was poor solution to the problem and additional challenges being derived. The charge nurse eventually released the nurse from work after she had lashed out. However, the initial conflict was not resolve so that there is a possibility of a strained relationship between the two even in future interactions. In addition, the nurse’s attitude was not addressed as she was very rude and disturbed the facility through her loud comments that disrespected her superior/supervisor. The third effect was poor working relationship being experienced. The conflict does not only affect the two, but affects the whole team through creating perceptions about their personalities. Others could feel that the charge nurse is weak and easily bullied, while the nurse would be perceived as rude and unprofessional thereby creating poor working relationships. The fourth effect would be low team performance and efficiency. The strained and poor working relationships make it difficult for the team members to communicate and express themselves thus reducing their performance (Bojeun, 2014).
The described conflict situation offers some important insight into delegation, empowerment, group dynamics, and constructive group behaviors. Firstly, it offers insight into the concept of delegation. The charge nurse failed in delegating some of her responsibilities to free up time to address the conflict. She should have invested more time in delegating, following up and communicating. Even if she could not delegate, she should have followed up and communicated with the nurse to explain why there was a delay in her early release. Delegating would require the charge nurse to model the behaviors that the medical facility needs in terms of actively managing the team, distributing accountability and responsibility, and being specific about expected results. In addition, it requires them to help the team members to get involved, work and learn together, provide constructive criticism/feedback, and promote honest communication on problems. Through delegation, the charge nurse would apply five steps: look into the situation; identify the issue and propose alternative actions; examine the issues; take responsibility for actions; and take action (Black, 2016) Resolve Conflict /Promote Collaboration Essay.
Second, it offers insight into the concept of empowerment. Empowerment focuses on mutual benefits and it entails releasing control to others to make decisions and choose the outcomes. Empowerment would have required the two conflicting parties to relinquish some power while gaining some power over the situation. In the present case, empowerment required the charge nurse to release some control while the nurse seizes the opportunity and takes control of the situation. The nurse would take the initiate and have the desire to step in and make a decision in the best interest of all parties. The two of them (charge nurse and nurse) must actively participate in releasing and gaining power, and be proactive. Through this, the two would be enabled to think, act, behave and make decisions in dependent ways. This would allow them to feel a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction while increasing effectiveness and efficiency. These feelings increase productivity and performance thereby positively influencing the workplace (Ellis & Bach, 2015).
Thirdly, it offers insight into the concept of group dynamics. To appropriately manage interpersonal conflict, the leader must recognize how relationships within the team change and adapt the leadership style accordingly. Group dynamics refers to the behaviors and attitudes of the team members. Although no two groups are alike, it is expected for each leader to adapt the personal leadership style to reflect the relationships and changes within the group. Positive and effective group dynamics are vital, and leaders who understand group structure and behavior can use the knowledge to guide the creation and management of productive and cohesive teams. The charge nurse appears not to have had a good grasp of the group dynamics. She did not understand the nurse’s personality and handle her thereby creating opportunities for misunderstanding and the resultant conflict (Ellis & Bach, 2015).
Finally, it offers insight into the concept of constructive group behaviors. The team member are unavoidable different persons with different kinds of personalities, skills, and knowledge. Each group members makes their own special contribution to the groups. In this regard, their behaviors can either be constructive or destructive. Constructive behaviors help the group to engage in action and accomplish the desired results, while destructive behaviors hinder the group from accomplishing its goals. Constructive behaviors include integrity, respect/empathy, passion and enthusiasm, balanced role between leading and following, and collaboration. The discussion shows a lack of respect and collaboration. The nurse did not respect the nurse and had no intention of collaborating to resolve the issue (Ellis & Bach, 2015).
An analysis of the presented conflict case reveals that there are four variables that contributed to the conflict. The first variable is individual differences contributed to the conflict. The nurse had an aggressive personality while the charge nurse was tolerant thus sparking the conflict. The second variable is dependence on a common resource pool. The charge nurse proposed to release some nurses from work thereby implying that some would remain at work. The nurses are a common resource tool and some of them must be available to addressing the needs of the few patients who come in seeking care. Many nurses wanted to go home, and a conflict was almost inevitable because of those who wanted to leave work would be unable to do so. With scarce resources, a zero-sum game exists in which some nurses win and go home while others invariably lose and must stay at work. The third variable is status inconsistency. The charge nurse is a superior/leader while the nurse is a subordinate. The charge nurse has the responsibility of deciding whether some nurses can go home; who gets to go home and who stays at work. These decisions affect how the nurses view the charge nurse’s fairness irrespective of whether or not the decision was actually fair. The final variable was task interdependencies. The charge nurse and nurse work together. The high task interdependencies heightened the intensity of their relationship such that a small issue that could have been quickly resolved degenerated into a major issue (Bojeun, 2014).
There is a need to target the mentioned variables when resolving the conflict. In fact, the conflict resolution can be broken down into six steps that simplify the process. The first step is to clarify the nature of the disagreement. This involves getting to the heart of the conflict by discussing with the parties which of their needs were not met. A mutual understanding must be developed at this step to include collecting comprehensive information on the conflict causes. The second step is to establish a common objective for the conflicting parties. This requires that they agree on a desired outcome in terms of what each party hopes to achieve and reaching a consensus that satisfies them. The third step is to exhaustively discuss ways in which the agreed commonality can be achieved. This step involves active listening, communication and brainstorming together. The fourth step is to identify the hindrances to achieving the common objective. Each conflicting party gets to talk about what would prevent the conflict’s resolution. This allows for a proactive management that anticipates and handles the barriers before or as they occur. The fifth step is to agree on a course of action to resolve the conflict. This requires consensus on the parties’ responsibilities and the most appropriate solutionv. The final step is to acknowledge the solution and determine each party’s responsibilities in actualizing the solution (Ellis & Bach, 2015).
Effective conflict resolution skills are necessary for turning conflict into an opportunity. Within the work environment, nurse leaders come into contact with subordinate nurses with different opinions, attitudes and backgrounds. These persons are expected to work together despite conflicts occurring. For nurse leaders, the presence of effective conflict resolution skills achieves two objectives. Firstly, it reduces disruptions in the workplace. Conflict creates tension that could easily spread from the parties who were initially in conflict to other parties in the periphery. This could result in reduce morale even as the workflow stalls. Nurse leaders with good skills can minimize the disruptions and create a better working environment (Yoder-Wise, 2013). Secondly, it garners strong relationships through reducing the friction that could damage relationships if not well managed. The skills help the nurse leader to resolve the conflict in a respectful and professional manner thereby enabling better collaborations and building stronger work relationships. Besides the two objectives, these skills help in minimizing distractions, enhancing collaboration, and saving money and time thereby creating a healthy work environment (Johansen & Cadmus, 2016; Yoder-Wise, 2013).
Black, B. (2016). Professional nursing: concepts & challenges. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Bojeun, M. (2014). Program management leadership: creating successful team dynamics. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Ellis, P. & Bach, S. (2015). Leadership, management and team working in nursing (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Erdenk, N. & Altuntaş, S. (2017). Do personality traits of nurses have an effect on conflict management strategies? Journal of Nursing Management, 25(5), 366–374. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.12474
Johansen, M. & Cadmus, E. (2016). Conflict management style, supportive work environments and the experience of work stress in emergency nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 24, 211–218. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.12302
Marshall, E. & Broome, M. (2017). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer. Resolve Conflict /Promote Collaboration Essay
Yoder-Wise, P. (2013). Leading and managing in nursing (5th ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier Health Sciences.
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