Today in the chart

3 Communication Hacks that Decrease Conflict in Healthcare Settings

Conflict and miscommunication are inevitable parts of life, and in healthcare settings, where life-and-death situations are

Conflict and miscommunication are inevitable parts of life, and in healthcare settings, where life-and-death situations are always around the corner, they’re even more amplified.

Although conflict will always exist at work, all it takes is a little creativity to “compromise and optimize.” Erika del Pozo, the founder of Joy Energy Time, created this online community to provide wellness resources to aid healthcare professionals in navigating stress.

Ms. del Pozo explains how knowing your personality type and understanding the difference between “compromising and optimizing” can decrease conflict and enhance communication in the workplace. She cites that the key to smoothing things over in the workforce comes down to understanding the personality matrix, which is based on the five personality traits known as OCEAN:

  • Openness: Your level of creativity and the degree to which you’re willing to try new experiences.
  • Conscientiousness: The level of care you take in your life and work and your ability to plan and organize effectively.
  • Extroversion: Your level of sociability, where you draw your energy, and how you interact with others.
  • Agreeableness: Your level of willingness to compromise and orient towards others.
  • Neuroticism: Your level of emotional reactions, emotional stability, and general temperament.

Like similar personality insight profiles, you score high, low, or in the middle of each of these traits. These preferences play a huge role in how you interact with others at work, and your matrix mix determines your preference for communication and receiving information. “Oftentimes, our personality matrix goes unnoticed, which can lead to big-time conflict,” del Pozo says.

To understand the matrix in action, let’s think about a hypothetical situation with two completely different coworkers. Eva is conscientious and very detail oriented, whereas Maxine performs better out of the spotlight. While both women are effective at their jobs, they often clash due to their personality differences. 

Ms. del Pozo notes that when encountering a situation where two coworkers conflict, both sides need to recognize their personality matrices and analyze how it differs from others.

In the case of Eva and Maxine, acknowledging their distinct approaches to conscientiousness could encourage them to “compromise and optimize.” For example, they might reach a communication middle ground where Eva only provides essential details for Maxine, who in turn offers a few essential points of her own for Eva. This is a compromise in action. 

Conversely, “optimizing would involve one of them leaving their comfort zone and taking one for the team for the greater sake of harmony,” del Pozo explains. In both scenarios, though, someone “is adapting to the other person’s matrix, which may be uncomfortable and weird.”

To ensure that your efforts to understand the other person’s matrix isn’t in vain, you should clarify the root of the conflict before anything else and “remain open and listen,” del Pozo says. “It can be so easy to assume you’re right and plan what you’re going to say next instead of actively listening to their side of the story.”

Like a distinct personality matrix, people also have their own appreciation language, and learning it for challenging coworkers can help you smooth things out. del Pozo notes, “Appreciation languages are the same as love languages, but applied to the context of work,” she says. “People just want to be seen, heard and understood … Have you ever heard of people leaving high-paying jobs to serve ice cream in Bermuda because they weren’t being appreciated at work? That’s because socio-emotional rewards matter.”

Showing small acts of appreciation regularly can have a long-term impact on your relationship. However, they’re most effective if you take time to learn someone’s appreciation language by observing how they show appreciation. You may notice some of the following appreciation languages:

  • Quality Time: This person loves grabbing coffee with you before your shift starts or spending time together outside work.
  • Gifts: This person loves bringing little treats and gifts for the whole office after a vacation.
  • Acts of Service: This person loves helping out and is often taking on tasks like cleaning equipment, making coffee, or organizing the junk cabinet.
  • Words of Affirmation: This person likes to hear they’ve done an excellent job, whether that’s through a text, call, email, or even a “thank you” note.

You can memorize someone’s personality matrix and show appreciation all the time, but that doesn’t mean you can resolve every single conflict. For cases where you cannot leave workplace conflicts, del Pozo says there are three choices: stay at your job and shift your mindset about the conflict; leave the job altogether, or switch departments. Ultimately, what move you make comes down to the impact the conflict is having on your life, and only you can determine that.

To discover your personality matrix, you can take a quiz devised by best-selling author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards.

Subscribe to our M-F newsletter
Thank you for subscribing! Welcome to The Nursing Beat!
Please enter your email address