Wayne Dyer once said, “Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” While you may not be directly responsible for an unresolved disagreement among team members, you may still have a role by not addressing the conflict effectively. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure conflict does survive long in your practice.
While it’s natural to assume two different points of view led to the conflict, you have to also consider the big picture of how the individuals communicated with each other. Someone once said, “10% of conflict is due to a difference in opinion and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice.” If you want to address conflict effectively, you need to keep in mind that most conflict results from how people talk with each other. Therefore, resolving conflict is less about determining who is right and more about coaching people to communicate in a professional and respectful way.
One important question to ask team members experiencing conflict is how they prefer to receive feedback. This is especially important when someone makes a mistake. For example, if a new assistant is taking extra steps to not overlook anything, but she accidentally misses an instrument for a tray set up, how may she react to feedback that has an accusatory tone? She may defend her actions instead of learning from feedback. In addition, the exchange will erode trust between the team members, setting the stage for more conflict.
Make your team aware of how their tone and delivery contribute to conflict. Guide your team to understand how their colleagues prefer to receive feedback and direction. When you can help people improve their delivery and tone, you minimize or eliminate 90% of what leads to conflict in the first place. And when you can show the team how to end their participation in conflict by fine tuning how they communicate, then conflict will not survive long in your practice.