Fundamentals - Leadership, part 5: Conflict Management
by Meris Shuwarger December 15, 2022 Updated: August 09, 2023 4 min read
- 0:00 What to Expect from Conflict Management
- 00:25 Types of Conflict
- 1:24 Stages of Conflict
- 2:35 Conflict Management Strategies
- 5:17 Quiz Time!
Hi. I'm Meris, and in this video, I'm going to be covering some best practices for nursing efficiency along with the stages of conflict, types of conflict, and conflict resolution strategies. I'm going to be following along using the leadership section of our fundamentals flashcard deck, and if you have this flashcard deck, I would encourage you to go ahead and pull out these cards and follow along with me. All right. Let's get started.
So let's talk about types and stages of conflict because you've got to know about the conflicts before we know what to do about them. So types of conflict. Intrapersonal. That is a conflict happening within a person's own self, so it's their internal struggle. Interpersonal. That's going to be a conflict between two people. So intrapersonal with an A, that's happening alone. Right? That's in my head. Interpersonal with an E, I think of that's happening between two people. And then we have intergroup. So this is going to be a conflict between groups or departments. Immediately, I think of ER and ICU. Right? There are a lot of intergroup conflicts between the ER and ICU nurses historically. There shouldn't be. We are all on the same team, and that team is team patient, but you will experience that in your nursing practice.
Now stages of conflict. These are important to know because you've got to know where we are in the conflict. The latent stage. This means that the individuals aren't aware of the conflict yet, but it could occur at any moment. So I often think of like I'm just bebopping along, living my life, and I have no idea that Susie Q over there, she's got it out for me. She's mad at me. I did something to upset her. I don't know anything. I'm just living my life. I don't know that there's any kind of conflict at all. That's latent stage. Now the perceived stage. This is when the individuals are aware of the conflict, but they're not having an emotional response to it yet. I just know that it exists. The felt stage means that I'm having an emotional response to the conflict, like stress, anxiety, fearfulness, sadness, whatever that might be. The manifest stage of conflict is when the action begins to resolve the conflict. We've taken action to resolve it. We are trying to manifest a happy resolution. And then the aftermath stage. This is where the conflict has been resolved with either positive or negative results. Either way, we are still talking about the aftermath of the conflict.
Now moving on to conflict resolution strategies. This is like, "How do we manage a conflict?" Right? Conflict management strategies. There's a bunch of them, and they're not all great. Okay? So important to know that. I'm not saying that these are all good conflict management strategies. This is just some of them. So avoiding. Avoiding is what it sounds like. If I don't think about it, it doesn't exist. So if I can just avoid that conflict, "Ooh, maybe it'll just go away." But guess what? It's not going to. The conflict remains, and it's going to grow. Smoothing. I think of smoothing like this: you're going to compliment them. "You're so smart. You're so strong. I know this is terrible, but you can handle it." That's smoothing, right? You're trying to smooth things over by complimenting the person. Guess what? It's not going to resolve the conflict. I might be flattered that you think those nice things about me, but I'm still mad at you about the XYZ thing that you did. Competing. This is a win-lose situation, so one party wins at the expense of the other. So that means group A gets what they want; group B doesn't get anything that they want.
Then we have accommodating. This is a lose-win solution. One party gives in and allows the other party to win. So with competing, it's not that team B gave in. It's just that team A got the thing that they wanted. When we're talking about accommodating, though, team A and team B, one team is going to say, "Okay, fine. Fine. Whatever. Just it's fine." It's not fine, right? But they're going to give in because it's just easier to just move on like that, but that's going to build some resentment too. Compromising is a lose-lose situation. So both parties here are going to make some kind of sacrifice, and the conflict is going to be resolved, but the parties are still going to be unsatisfied. We didn't all win. We actually both had to make sacrifices, so we both kind of lost here. But the ideal conflict management strategy is going to be collaborating. Right? Stop, collaborate, and listen. So we're going to collaborate so that we can both win. We want a win-win situation. So this means that both parties are going to put aside the previous goals, and they're going to work together towards a common goal. Right? So different than when we are talking about compromising. Compromising means making sacrifices. Collaborating means, "Let's work together to find a common goal." This is a win-win, and it produces the best outcome.
All right. Are you ready for some quiz questions? Because I know I am. Here we go. The nurse is struggling with an internal conflict related to their job. What type of conflict is this? Intrapersonal conflict. Once individuals are aware of conflict but before there is an emotional response, what stage of conflict is this? The perceived stage of conflict. After a nurse expresses frustration with their assignment, their charge nurse says, "I know, but you have this assignment because you're such a strong and incredible nurse. You're the only one who could handle this tough assignment." What type of conflict management strategy is this? This is smoothing. And lastly, which type of conflict management strategy produces the best outcome? Collaborating.
All right. That is it for the stages and types of conflict along with conflict management strategies. I hope you learned something. Please leave me a comment if you have a great way to remember something. I definitely want to hear it. I know that other people do too. Thanks so much, and happy studying.
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