Do you have conflicting personalities in your office? Do such differences result in petty squabbling?  While inter-office conflicts are common, there are a few things an administer can do to greatly reduce conflict in the workplace.  It’s important to address conflicts before they affect the professionalism of your practice, the morale of your staff, and your practice’s productivity.

Most of what is attributed to personality conflicts in the workplace can be traced to a just a handful of sources for which you most likely are responsible!

Job descriptions: It’s all too easy for disputes to emerge when responsibilities are not well defined. In today’s changing medical field, jobs change — don’t let those job descriptions lead to finger-pointing in the office. Clearly delineated responsibilities allow staff to both receive credit and take responsibility for tasks. Without clear definitions it’s too easy for misunderstandings (of differences in performance) to escalate into personal resentments.

Cross-training: The counterpart to clearly job descriptions is that your staff should be well cross-trained and able and willing to fill-in where they are needed. Cross-training has the benefit of helping everyone in the office truly appreciate what important roles the others are fulfilling.  Additionally, it shows that you are interested in the well-being and career and skill advancement of your staff.  There’s a fine line between a groove and a rut!  To the extent you are able, provide variety in the work environment so that your staff doesn’t fall into an abyss of boredom.

Fairness: If your staff perceives that some receive preferential treatment, morale will suffer and, with falling morale, it’s only to be expected that friction will increase.  An under-appreciated fact is that perceptions of fairness and openness to communication go hand-in-hand. If your staff feels they can approach you to complain because you have a sincere interest in their well-being, you are well on your way to resolving squabbles among your staff. Challenge yourself to hear that which is difficult for you to hear. No one is free from biases and your staff can serve as a mirror to your own policies — it’s important to know if your actions or communication is being viewed as partial. Thank those that bring it to your attention. After all, they’re helping you fine-tune your practice for even better performance.  And who doesn’t want that?

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