As a health and care worker, you may often be required to help with conflict resolution, so it is important that you are able to identify skills and approaches need for resolving conflicts and be able to find and utilise additional help and support if required.
When getting involved in a conflict, it is important to understand that all parties may initially be in a high emotional state, which makes them less likely to approach the issues in a logical fashion. You should give everyone a chance to explain how they are feeling from their perspective. This means listening intently to what they have to say, giving them respect and showing empathy and understanding. Everyone should be treated fairly and equitably as if an individual feels as though they are being ‘ganged up on’ they will be far less open to compromise later.
When everybody has had the opportunity to say their piece (and hopefully cooled down a little) it is time to negotiate and find out what (if any) compromises people are willing to make. It may be necessary to make it clear to all that there may be no hope of resolution if everybody is not willing to compromise a little and then nobody will get what they want.
Having drafted a potential resolution, it is essential to ensure that there is clarity and transparency and that everybody is happy. Active listening is important to make sure that everybody understands what will happen moving forward so that there are no misunderstandings that could lead to more issues in the future. Documenting the resolution and getting each party to sign it is recommended.
If nobody is willing to compromise or no resolution can be found, then you may need to obtain additional support.
Contacting a senior member of staff or your line manager for guidance will probably be your first port of call. Third-party professionals can also be useful, such as trained mediators. If all or some of the facts about the issue are unknown, it may be necessary to contact other professionals for advice. This could be a social worker or community nurse, for example.
If there is a degree of aggression in the conflict, it may be necessary to contact the police for assistance.