Regardless of the industry, conflict at work is inevitable. And in an emotionally charged setting, such as a veterinary practice, the odds of conflict increase. Based on survey results, the following factors are common contributors to conflict in the workplace:
- Lack of communication
- Lack of clear policies and procedures
- Lack of enforcement of policies and procedures
- Poor overall working conditions
Fortunately, if you are a veterinary practice owner, there are steps you can take to manage conflict among your employees when it arises. In this article, we share several tips for managing employee conflict in your veterinary practice.
Encourage Positive Communication
First, you should encourage positive communication among your employees. In furtherance of this, you should request ideas and feedback from staff. This will demonstrate that you value the opinions of your employees, and it will make conflict more manageable when it arises.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Next, you should never jump to conclusions when addressing an employee conflict. Rather, you should always assume positive intent, thereby creating an environment that is conducive to conflict resolution. And although it is important to put a stop to poor employee behavior, it is equally important to ensure that you fully understand the situation before taking action.
Address Conflict in Person
As the owner of a business, you must learn to be comfortable dealing with uncomfortable situations—in person. In other words, you should never address employee conflicts via email or phone. Rather, you should speak to those involved face to face and encourage them to share their sides of the story.
Remind Employees of the Importance of Teamwork
Teamwork is necessary for a veterinary practice to thrive. Therefore, you should routinely remind your employees of the importance of working together. Not only will this help prevent conflict, but it will make conflict resolution easier.
Choose Your Battles
Finally, you must remember to choose your battles. Minor workplace conflicts often work themselves out without managerial intervention. In fact, by inserting yourself into a minor conflict too early, you run the risk of making matters worse. On the other hand, if you get involved too late, the conflict may spin out of control. Therefore, you must work to develop the skill of identifying workplace conflict and assessing whether the time is right for you to get involved. Example of situations that typically require intervention include:
- An employee disagreement is becoming personal
- One or more employees are threatening to quit
- A conflict is affecting group morale
Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers
At Mahan Law, our veterinary attorneys are here to help you address the challenges that accompany running a veterinary practice. Regardless of your unique needs, our lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you address your issues. At Mahan Law, we are veterinary industry veterans, and we can help you take steps to protect your practice and resolve pending legal issues. Please contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with a talented veterinary lawyer.