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Resolving Problems on the Job


1.9.12
By:  Melissa Knybel, Director of Operations

Problems and conflict can arise in the workplace, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Because of this, Randstad Healthcare's Director of Operations & Quality Assurance would like to provide you with the following tips to help resolve conflict in the workplace.

1. Find a quiet confidential area to talk

  • The discussion should always take place in a "safe" place not in the middle of the nurses station or department, in a patient's room or in front of visitors.
  • Start with "Lets find a quite place where we can talk confidentially."


2. Allow the individual to verbalize their concerns or "blow off steam"
  • Let them talk and don't jump in too quickly with an apology or comment.
  • Listening is most important. Prompt them during the conversation with encouraging statements such as, "Please go on" or "Tell me more about that".


3. Empathize
  • Acknowledge how they are feeling and empathize with their situation.
  • "You seem very frustrated with this situation. I want to help resolve it for you."


4. Don't sound defensive
  • Make sure your tone is helpful and professional.
  • Don't take the complaint personally and don't sound irritated.
  • Avoid sighing or other non-verbal cues that could project a defensive or irritated posture such as crossing your arms across your chest, or turning your body slightly away from the person during the conversation.
  • If the conflict is with you directly, acknowledge that you are responsible for the experiences you create for others and how your actions are perceived by others. Do not argue with how someone has perceived you, it is the opinion they have formed in response to the experiences you created for them.


5. Find out exactly what the problem is
  • Listen carefully, ask questions and focus on the facts.


6. Restate the problem
  • Make sure you are on the same wavelength.
  • Verifying their concerns communicates that you understand.
  • Make statements like: "Let me see if I have this right."


7. Say, "I'm sorry"
  • Do not assign blame, and make a statement like: "I'm sorry you are having a problem."
  • Avoid removing yourself from the problem through statements such as "I wasn’t here when that happened. OR "I didn't do that, it is not my fault." In most circumstance the person could care less who is at fault and is more interested finding a solution.


8. Fix the problem
  • Ask the individual what solution they are looking for and focus on what is reasonable in the situation.
  • Ask the individual for suggestions. Involve them in finding a solution to the problem.


9. No quick fix?
  • Tell the individual what you will be doing and estimate how long it will take to resolve the issue.


10. Follow up
  • Follow up with the individual when you said you will, whether the issue is resolved or not.


11. Don't let it happen again
  • Record and analyze conflict and learn from it.