Managing internal conflict: A comprehensive resource for stopping the madness

Use these strategies and tools to improve co-worker relations—and your practice.
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Jun 10, 2010
By dvm360.com staff
Bickering, gossip, game-playing: Besides being downright annoying, this type of co-worker conflict can reduce a great practice to a disorganized heap of shoddy client and patient care. (Research even shows this is true.) If infighting among your team members—including doctors—has you at your wits’ end, it’s time to stop the madness, literally.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of crucial resources. You’ll find in-depth articles about how to handle team conflict, as well as simple tools you can put to use immediately. To access them, click on the links below or look at all the resources one page at a time by clicking the “Next” button.

DEALING WITH TEAM-WIDE CONFLICT

EMPLOYEES: HANDLING CONFLICT WITH YOUR BOSS

OWNERS & MANAGERS: HANDLING EMPLOYEE CONFLICT

USE THESE FORMS AND TOOLS TO END CONFLICT TODAY

DEALING WITH TEAM-WIDE CONFLICT

End 3 team turf wars
Front vs. back, new vs. veteran, and day vs. night: This "us vs. them" thinking makes rivals out of team members. Here's how to break down the barriers. By Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM, Firstline

Teamwork takes communication You deal with conflict every day. The trick is to handle it effectively. Here's how to treat people appropriately so your future interactions will be smoother. By Dr. Nan Boss, DVM Newsmagazine

How to deal with 7 rotten types of employees
One bad apple can spoil the bunch. Here's how to refresh team members who might have turned a little putrid. By Liz Marsh, Firstline

8 tips for talking to someone you can't stand
No matter how much you'd like to, you can't ignore a co-worker. Here's how to keep the lines of communication open, even when you'd rather not. By Michelle Hainer, Firstline

Understand your work style—and theirs
Each team member brings different strengths to the table. By identifying those strong points, you'll be able to appreciate everyone's contributions. By Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM, Firstline

EMPLOYEES: HANDLING
CONFLICT WITH YOUR BOSS

How to tame your beastly boss
Hiding behind your manager's ferocious lion's roar might be a timid kitten struggling to survive the workaday jungle. Here's how to coax out your boss's softer side. By Katherine Bontrager, Firstline

Mad about low pay or bad hours?
Instead of hating the practice owner, consider the business side of veterinary practice. Doing so will help you keep your job. By Dr. Christopher J. Allen, JD, DVM Newsmagazine

When the bosses fight
Here you are stuck in the middle again. Use these tips to break free from your managers' tug of war. By Sheila Grosdidier, BS, RVT, Firstline

How to get along with a new associate
When there's a new doctor in the practice, implement these three strategies to ensure the welcome is warm on all sides. By Dr. Christine Merle, MBA, CVPM, Firstline

4 signs you're working for a bully
If you see any of these signs, watch out! By Firstline editors

Associates: Breaching a non-complete clause has consequences
Much more is at stake than enforceability; your career is at risk. By Dr. Christopher J. Allen, JD, DVM Newsmagazine

Associates: Avoid getting tangled in an amorphous buy-in offer
Beware of potential misunderstandings about sensitive partnership issue. By Dr. Christopher J. Allen, JD, DVM Newsmagazine

OWNERS & MANAGERS: HANDLING
EMPLOYEE CONFLICT

Get your team members talking
Learn to straighten out convoluted conversations in your practice so team members can communicate—or find a new job. By Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, Veterinary Economics

Conflict: How to overcome approval addiction
If you often shy away from confrontation because of a fear of hurting someone's feelings, follow this plan to overcome your need to please. By Dr. Gene Maxwell, Veterinary Economics

Top 10 reasons for contract disputes
Avoid these perennial mistakes and you'll avoid conflict with associates. By Dr. Christopher J. Allen, JD, DVM Newsmagazine

5 ways to make associates hate you
Practice owners, follow these tips to become the most disliked person at your practice. By Mark Opperman, CVPM, Veterinary Economics

Who's in control?
Is a self-serving team member pulling the strings at your practice and cutting fragile lines of communication? Don't let it happen any longer. By Mark Opperman, CPVM, Veterinary Economics

A good boss lets bad eggs go
Firing an employee can be tough, but sometimes it's better for the whole team. By Mark Opperman, CVPM, Veterinary Economics

USE THESE FORMS AND TOOLS
TO END CONFLICT TODAY

BizQuiz: Can you temper team conflict? Take this quiz to see whether you know what to do to keep the fur from hitting the fan. By Firstline editors

Steps to organized communication
Leaders must follow this plan to ensure a happy and effective team. By Dr. Michele Drake, DVM Newsmagazine

How to read 8 physical signs
Learning to read body language lets you head off conflict before it starts. By Firstline editors

Sample form: Rules of conduct
Make sure team members understand what's not OK—as well as the seriousness of each offense. By Pam Weakley, Firstline

Interactive case study: Playing the blame game
This educational tool will help team members stop pointing fingers and start taking ownership. By Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM, Firstline

Sample form: Conflict resolution plan
Use these guidelines to create your own step-by-step plan that outlines who team members should approach and how to report a problem with a co-worker if team members can't resolve the issue by themselves. By Sheila Grosdidier, BS, RVT, Firstline

Sample form: Principles of mutual respect
Take a proactive approach by letting team members know your practice is dedicated to open communication and strong values. By Brenda Tassava, CVPM, CVJ, Firstline