How to manage personality conflicts in practice
The trite phrase, "personality conflicts," allows key issues to be ignored or defined out of existence in daily operations. To assist us, let's assume the following:
With these "expectations/behaviors" in place, we can now look at the phrase itself, "personality conflict"; it could mean the practice did not hire for "team fit," or they did not establish a "safe-haven" environment when establishing behavior expectations. The basic "terms of employment," behavior expectations for all staff, must be very clear: team fit (harmony), competency, productivity and client-centered patient advocacy. When someone is learning (e.g., during the 90-day orientation and training phase for new hires), caring and compassionate coaching must occur to ensure the team fit is established.
There are five rights to consider when entering into a coaching or counseling role, and they are:
The process may change during the coaching/counseling, and that is okay also.
So is "managing personality conflicts" an impossible task or is it
just an excuse for not facing team harmony expectations? Yes and no, since perception
is reality. Is it a major reason? Sure! Does it have to continue? Never! There
is a five-step process available:
Step 2: Create clear and consistent standards of care.
Step 3: Align the practice operations with a new operational model that empowers the staff.
Step 4: Provide day-to-day leadership and open communications needed for professionalism and image.
Step 5: Why does everyone come to work at the practice in the first place? The answer: to deliver quality veterinary healthcare to patients and their pet parents.
(For more information refer to VPC Signature Series monographs.)
Try to build a "safe haven" practice culture.
A hostile work environment is not allowed in the American workplace; it is a liability to allow it. The uncommon practice leader is one who develops a "safe haven" for all staff members. This safe haven allows open feedback and the freedom to make mistakes when trying new things yet assessing "how can we do it better next time." This requires a clear vision for practice direction, inviolate core values and clear/consistent standards of care. In an environment where management is done "with the heart," everything becomes easier.
(Suggested reading: "Managing From the Heart" by Bracey, et al.)