Ineffective conflict management

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Discussion of the Group

A group comprising agency community health nurse, two agency managers, an office information technology administrator, clinical preceptor, and three students had been working on a project whose objective is to develop a resource guide for an identified population group. Particularly, the group was working on designing a resource guide on mental health that targets vulnerable adults highlighting where they could get help from the local community. The formal group had the members described above while the informal group included three nursing students and a clinical preceptor. Notably, the Daily Bread Food Bank had commissioned the project, an agency that seeks to meet the needs of people. The agency’s community health nurse took the role of the group leader and had responsibilities such as guiding the group members, establishing the structure of the group, establishing norms to govern the group, and introducing group members to each other (Murray, 2017).

As the group leader, the community nurse addressed the most critical norms that would govern the group culture. There was an emphasis on the need for respect, open communication, collaboration, active participation from each member, time management, appreciation of designated tasks, as well as the need to respect the opinions of others. The group leader embraced a democratic type of leadership in which the leader maintained a remarkable level of fairness to all the group members. The leader took the time to encourage and empower the members as well as update them on the progress of the project (Kelly & Tazbir, 2014). The leader created a favourable environment for people to express their opinions and to demonstrate a measure of flexibility. Additionally, the leader took up an important role in enhancing the group cohesion and encouraging higher levels of collaboration. Through the help of the group leader, the members were able to access various tools and information that they needed for the project task. The team leader faced challenges in enhancing a physical and emotional attachment among the team members due to geographical limitations.

The formal group roles involved effective collaboration in the design of a resource guide targeting vulnerable individuals. The informal group was under the leadership of the clinical preceptor who provided guidance, encouragement, and regular feedback, to the three nursing students. The group held meetings through telephone conferences due to geographical limitations (Bach & Ellis, 2015). However, the three nursing students, the clinical preceptor, as well as the information technology administrator were able to meet at the agency premises. For this reason, the telephone conferences took place at the agency premises. Email corresponding was an important aspect of the group due to the geographical limitations. The development of the group went through various stages; namely, forming, storming, norming, and performing stages. In the forming stage, the group leader introduced all the members to each other and highlighted the group norms. Moreover, the leader also identified the corresponding tasks and made clarifications regarding the objective and goals of the resource guide. During the first session, each of the group members signed the group contract. The group leader also highlighted the means of communication and scheduled meetings for the group. For this reason, the forming stage was successful. The storming, norming, and performing stages, as well as the adjourning stage, presented certain issues. However, the group completed its project of developing a resource guide successfully.

Identification and Description of the Group Issue

The group faced a critical issue of ineffective conflict management. During the storming stage, the two agency managers expressed their dissatisfaction to handle different tasks. They felt that the leader had shared the tasks unfairly. There was a passive-aggressive expression of their frustration regarding the manner in which the group leader handled their views (Johansen, 2013). One of the agency managers highlighted that a certain group member did not respect his views. The other agency manager expressed unwillingness to work with the team and preferred to work alone. When this conflict arose, the other group members were silent and gave the leader the opportunity to handle the situation. At that point, the leader decided to designate the printing of the raft of images to one of the agency managers. The rest of the group voted in agreement that the process was fair. The leader helped manager AB, who had issues with the selected images to recognize the purpose of the project and the relevance of the chosen images. However, the manager expressed unhappiness with the project but the leader did not seek to identify any other underlying problems concerning the chosen images (Chinn, 2013). The group activities progressed well throughout the storming stage. During the norming stage, the agency managers presented their selected images while the nursing students and their preceptor provided their set of images. After the group leader examined the images in the presence of all the members, there was an approval of all the images. At that point, the group had successfully resolved the issue with the images. The group leader designated tasks for the next stage.

During the performing stage, the nursing students worked on developing a draft of the resources guide and prepared the photos and images for inclusion. However, the nursing students were to identify peer-reviewed literature in support of the identified data. They worked on identifying the peer-reviewed literature through consultations with their preceptor. They then shared the information with the group leader and rest of the members. They received feedback from the group leader as well as the preceptor (Akinwale, 2013). The agency managers presented their feedback and made suggestions concerning the appropriate colour of the final product. After the nursing students made amendments to the draft based on the feedback comments, they sent the final draft to the information technology administrator. At that point, the final colour selected was that identified by the group leader. The group was supposed to vote regarding the colour choice through email. However, the agency managers did not respond. During the adjourning stage, the colour choice dissatisfied the managers, and they kept silent throughout the presentation of the finished products. The leader did not give attention to their dissatisfaction and focused on completing the project.

Ineffective conflict management was evident in various stages of the group development. The leader did not take the time to resolve the underlying issues. On the contrary, the leader preferred to move on to the next task without giving the agency managers time to express their views. Although the group completed its tasks, it was explicit that ineffective conflict management affected the relationship between the agency members and the rest of the group (Johansen, 2013). When the agency members were dissatisfied, the group leader did not listen to their concerns. It emerges that several factors contributed significantly to the attitude of the agency managers. The agency managers were under pressure because of a potential threat of losing their jobs. Moreover, the agency managers did not support the idea of working with the nursing students throughout the project. However, the group leader failed to address the conflict and opted to avoid it.

Strategies for Resolving Ineffective Conflict Management to Enhance Group Effectiveness

One of the strategies for preventing ineffective conflict management is the power of shared responsibility. Shared responsibility denotes the successful collaboration of several individuals in the development of content for a specified item, for shared responsibility to be significant, the contribution of each member is of critical importance. There is great power in achieving the power of shared responsibility (Chinn, 2013). For a group to function effectively there is a need to achieve a high level of sharing responsibility. When a group recognizes that the end product will exhibit the combined efforts of each, then the members can work together in enhancing the level of collaboration. In the specific scenario discussed above, the agency members needed to recognize the power of sharing responsibility. The group leader had the obligation of speaking to them and helping them to recognize that including students in the project would enhance the outcomes. Resolving the conflict would require the leader to change the attitudes of the agency managers and motivate them to collaborate effectively with other group members.

Additionally, effective communication serves as a reliable strategy for presenting ineffective conflict resolution (Scharlatt, 2016). The group should have established open communication channels that allow the members to express their views openly and to receive feedback. Moreover, the group leader should have exhibited higher levels of listening with the core objective of understanding the concerns of the agency managers. Effective communication helps in identifying the real issue during a conflict. Communicating the conflict using emails does not register the desired outcomes (Murray, 2017). For conflict management to be effective, the group leader should have organized a face-to-face meeting to address the issue with the agency managers.

Emphasis on compromise would also have been an effective strategy in resolving the conflict. Compromise helps the parties involved in a conflict to win on some issues and give up others. For instance, the group should have emphasized the need for compromise regarding the colour choice of the final product. The lack of compromise motivated the agency managers to feel that their contribution was insignificant (Kelly & Tazbir, 2014). Through compromise, the group would have settled for a win-win situation that would satisfy all the members. Additionally, the emphasis on compromise would have helped in resolving the issue with the chosen images. Particularly, such a compromise would have involved giving up some images and include those suggested by the agency managers.

The fourth strategy for preventing ineffective conflict management would be to address the underlying issues. Addressing the underlying issues involved the determination of deeper issues that may influence the behaviour of team members (Bach & Ellis, 2015). In the group scenario, it was evident that the agency managers had other underlying issues. The group leader did not give attention to such issues. Particularly, the group leader would have helped the agency managers to overcome their job insecurity and to appreciate the opportunity of working with nursing students. On the contrary, the leader opted to ignore such issues. There is a need to critically analyse the significance of underlying issues as a way of promoting successful conflict management.

Mediation is an additional strategy that helps in conflict management. Mediation involves a third-party who has expertise in conflict resolution to help the parties involved in a conflict (Başoğul & Özgür, 2016). The group leader should have relied on the agency’s mediator to address the issue with the agency managers. Through mediation, it would have been easier to resolve the issues that affected group effectiveness. However, mediation only works effectively if the mediator has expertise in helping parties resolve a conflict.

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  1. Akinwale, A. (2013). Integrating the traditional and the modern conflict management strategies in Nigeria. African Journal On Conflict Resolution10(3).
  2. Bach, S., & Ellis, P. (2015). Leadership, management and team working in nursing. Los Angeles : Learning Matters.
  3. Başoğul, C., & Özgür, G. (2016). Role of Emotional Intelligence in Conflict Management Strategies of Nurses. Asian Nursing Research10(3), 228-233.
  4. Chinn. P. (2013). Peace and power: Creative leadership for building community. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
  5.  Johansen, M. (2013). Keeping the peace. Nursing Management (Springhouse)43(2), 50-54.
  6. Kelly, P., & Tazbir, J. (2014). Essentials of nursing leadership & management. Australia : Cengage Learning.
  7. Murray, E. J. (2017). Nursing leadership and management for patient safety and quality care. Philadelphia, PA : F.A. Davis Company.
  8. Scharlatt, H. (2016). Resolving Conflict: Ten Steps for Turning Negatives to Positives. California: Centre for Creative Leadership.
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