Medical mindshifting: Practice owners need to address conflicts within staff

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

Unresolved conflicts among medical assistants do considerable damage to a practice. From a business perspective, their most serious consequence is the creation of opportunity costs. These, of course, are not incurred in the form of a bill that has to be paid, but are indirect costs that result from the following effects:…

Labour productivity decreases

The team members directly affected by the conflict develop work strategies that no longer only serve the optimal completion of work, but also conflict management. The other colleagues can also be indirectly affected, either by the conflict in its impact on the work process or through involvement via personal contacts with those leading the conflict. If conflicts are not resolved, there will be long-term absenteeism due to sick leave or fluctuation.

The quality of work decreases

An increase in conflict intensity is accompanied by an increase in careless mistakes, omissions and forgetfulness, which have a direct impact on work results.

Motivation and employee satisfaction decline

Conflicts reduce the commitment of employees and, depending on the specific conflict situation, can lead to „work to rule“.

Team spirit dwindles

Conflicts can divide teams. Supporters, who have nothing to do with the conflict but show solidarity with one side, gather around those leading the conflict. As a result of this solidarity, they themselves now get into an incipient conflict with the supposed „opponents“, i.e. the team members who profess to be on the „opposite side“.

The working atmosphere deteriorates

Conflicts cause tensions in all areas of cooperation. Especially in teams where only a few people work in a confined space, members describe that conflicts can be felt almost physically, like „negative waves“.

Patient satisfaction decreases

Depending on the duration and intensity of the conflict, the tensions associated with it can no longer be suppressed towards the clients. The effects range from minor irritation on the phone or in stressful situations to direct unfriendliness.

Solving conflicts or better avoiding them altogether

The explanations make it clear that in order to achieve corporate and patient satisfaction goals, it is essential to manage conflicts and create a team balance. This is done with the help of conflict management. It includes two areas:

  • Conflict prevention: this area is about the proactive avoidance of conflicts, and
  • conflict resolution: even the best prevention cannot prevent conflicts from occurring. Now it’s about analysing the causes and developing solutions that restore the team balance in the long term.

Basically, about two-thirds of all team conflicts can be avoided through prevention and one-third need resolution.

Insights help to identify and eliminate conflicts

Practice owners who want to create a working atmosphere that is as conflict-free as possible basically need knowledge – not assumptions – about the following facts:

  • Team Experience Portfolio (TEP)

What is the current self-image of the team members, broken down into a description of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as a result of previous cooperation experiences?

  • Overall Team Satisfaction (OTS)

How do the team members generally rate their framework of action in comparison with their requirements?

  • Team Harmony Balance (THB)

How pronounced is the degree of agreement among team members in evaluating their working framework? The information can also be used as an

This information can also be used as an indicator of the potential for conflict within the team.

  • Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

How far is the quality of cooperation in the sense of implementing „real“ teamwork developed? Often the members interact only as a community, group or alliance of purpose.

  • Return on Management (ROM)

What impact do team building measures have on teamwork quality?

  • Team Development Options (TDO)

What ideas and suggestions exist from the employees‘ point of view that contribute to further improving teamwork?

The simple way to comprehensive team knowledge

A validated and simple way to determine the above-mentioned teamwork status is to use the Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Medical Practice“, a procedure that is also very accepted because no staff member has to „come out“. The associated expertise then describes in detail which measures and instruments should be used if team status has not yet been achieved and what needs to be done with regard to conflict prevention or curation.

All information on the Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Medical Practice“ in the overview (German)…