The Importance of Managing Conflict at Work

Almost everyone has a story of conflict at work – conflict is inevitable when running a business and working with others. There are many different types of conflict and causes for it, and understanding the nuance in each can help to manage it. Conflict de-escalation techniques can be used in any situation, whether at work, home, or in between. The term de-escalation is defined as skills and strategies designed to reduce the potential for future conflicts, aggression, or violence. This is done through understanding, managing, and resolution of conflict.

In our everyday lives, it is typical to face peer to peer conflict, but in the workplace, there are other situations and people that can cause conflict. At a healthcare facility, patients, vendors, outsiders, and peers all have the potential to cause conflicts. But how do you know what to look for?

Common non-verbal warning signs can be:

  • Pacing
  • Sweating or flushed face
  • Shaking
  • Clenching jaw or fists
  • Rapid breathing
  • Changes in eye contact (staring or avoiding)
  • Violating personal space
  • Hitting objects
  • Inappropriate laughter

These behaviors don’t necessarily mean a person will become violent and the context of the situation should be considered but they can be indicators of their stress. When these signs are witnessed, it is wise to exercise caution.

Our webinar hosted by Jerry McCormick, President of Personal Safety at Work, teaches about more warning signs, scenarios, and important takeaways for healthcare conflicts and how to de-escalate them.

Why is there violence in healthcare?

Healthcare facilities are high-stress environments for a lot of people, and this can manifest in various ways. Fear, anxiety, or anger can lead to violent acts, whether they are physical or psychological in nature. The reasoning behind these conflicts can range from:

  • displaced anger
  • psychiatric illness
  • pain management
  • drug use
  • environmental (overcrowding, long wait time)
  • disease progression, and more

If a situation arises where a conflict needs diffusing, it is important to understand not only the type of situation you are facing, but also the reaction of the individual in question. Understanding this is critical in your attempt to safely manage the problem.

Not only are the physical and psychological wellbeing of healthcare workers negatively impacted by workplace violence, but also their ability to deliver effective care is put at risk.

Importance of healthcare conflict de-escalation

conflict at work

Healthcare workers experience more workplace violence than any other profession, accounting for 73% of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence in 2018.

Having the skills and communication techniques to de-escalate a situation so it becomes less aggressive or violent is a huge asset to keeping healthcare workers safe. It’s important to understand the verbal and non-verbal cues during a conflict escalation. Being able to de-escalate the behavior can reduce the immediacy of the threat, give time to gain composure, and work toward resolving the issue.

Some situations require priority of safety over the de-escalation process. In our webinar, Mr. McCormick will review how to use this knowledge to assess safety risks, review prevention measures that should be in place, and report a violent encounter.

To learn more about how to de-escalate conflict in the workplace, join us on March 15th from 12:00PM-1:30PM for an interactive, online training with Mr. McCormick. Reserve your spot now!