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The 7 Essentials Of Conflict Resolution In Practice: Conflicts (part 1)

The 7 Essentials Of Conflict Resolution In Practice

– By Dr Nav Ropra.

Conflicts In Practice

Have you wondered why you can’t seem to get on with someone at work? 

No matter what, do conflicts arise between you and others?

Do these same patterns repeat themselves in your relationships?

In this article we provide solutions to conflicts.

We all have conflicts about decisions we need to make or things that we have done or not done.  These are our own internal conflicts.  Whenever there are two or more people in a room, there is the potential of an external conflict to arise. This is because we all see the world differently and filter the world with our own senses and realities.  Therefore, no two people will ever perceive a situation or event the same way.   Our memories based upon our experiences, and our imagination based upon our expectations give us the frame work to make the decisions we make.  Whatever will give us the most pleasure over pain, reward over risk, gain over loss is generally how we as human beings tend to operate in this world.

How does this relate to the dental practice?

When I consult with dental practices, I first want to know where the conflicts are within the practice.  How is the dental unit functioning?  What are the weak links or the hurts? What are the withholds that people have within the team?  These will be the areas which no one will want to talk about because they are too painful or embarrassing.  This includes anything which may have happened in the team environment where anyone may feel that they were unfairly treated or their needs were not met.  It is essential that these concerns are addressed as they will impact the purpose and profitability of the practice.  In order for individuals to feel that they belong to a team, they must be recognised as individuals and the uniqueness that they bring to the group.  It is only then that the practice is being of service to the individual and the individual can be of service to the practice.

A healthy practice working relationship is one where everyone is free to be who they are, whilst maintaining the functions and their job responsibilities.  By being professional towards each other and to patients, individuals are allowed to fully express themselves and know that they will be accepted for who they are without judgment.

When conflicts do arise, (and they will arise) they should be welcomed and resolution sought for a win-win solution.  It’s not about who is right or wrong.  It’s more about what everyone can learn from the situation to get past it and grow from it.  If you can successfully work through conflicts, then it creates deeper intimacy, learning, and mutual respect for one another.  The team will gel together more as stronger bonds are formed and trust deepens.

In my own experiences of conflicts and what I have seen in other practices, there are some fundamentals which need to be addressed during conflict resolution;

1.  Honesty

If people are able to come to the table in a conflict and share honestly about where they are at and what their needs are, then this is a good starting point in resolving the conflict.  If there are withholds or hidden agendas which come out later on, this can break the trust between the people concerned and the situation may get worse before it can get any better.

2.  Communication

The art of effective communication is essential and it is wiser to take responsibility in any dialogue for how you are feeling, rather than blame the other for how you are feeling.

If tempers start to run wild, then it is probably sensible to adjourn the matter until people involved have calmed down and are speaking rationally.

3.  Confrontation

There must be a willingness to move through the conflict and not just get stuck with it or give up.  There is the danger that as you don’t know where the conflict resolution will go, that your feelings may get hurt along the way.  Remember, the people you care about the most always have the opportunity to hurt you the most.

4.  Personal Power

In my practice, friendship is the ultimate goal.  If you are rooted in friendship and move towards the other in order to magnify your friendship with another human being, then that is a courageous step, especially during a conflict.  This is your personal power.

It will show something about you and your character.  Regardless of what is going on around you and your external environment, never let the outside world cause you to shrink as a person and take something away from your character.

5.  Take a position

Knowing that you have a position is the first step.  You will then need to stand up and take this position for who you are as a human being in this world.  The space that you occupy.  This does not mean disrespecting the other.  It means being clear about what it is you need and stating that in clear communication.

6.  Keep it open

A fixed position is really a fixed mindset, so have the flexibility to let go of certain things which are not important in order to move forwards.  If war can be prevented by countries willing to move from a fixed position, then individuals can also do the same.  Be willing to move on from the position that you have taken in order to accommodate the other’s needs.

7.  Learnings

After the conflict has been resolved, look back on all the different aspects that were brought up.  See what you can improve in your practice so that you can keep growing as individuals and as a practice.

(Part 2 of this article can be found here:

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