Continuous learning and professional development is critical in the world of long-term care and the ever changing healthcare industry. In order to best support our residents and help maintain the highest quality of life, it is imperative that we are not stagnant – that we continue to learn and grow as a staff. It has been an honor to take on a leadership role in the realm of professional development and education here at the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. From the outset, my new role has held many challenges, but they pale in comparison to the myriad of positives that have emerged as a byproduct of my work at CJF.

In connecting with team members from all business lines across the company, I have had a glimpse into the day-to-day responsibilities, and more importantly, the countless ways in which we all enrich the lives of our residents. Human connections have always fascinated me. In fact, part of the reason I am passionate about my work is that it allows me an opportunity to learn how every team member weaves his/her personality and unique gifts into his/her role at CJF. Be it resident care, the physical plant, or culinary arts, I am in awe of the talent that surrounds me every single day!

Despite my comfortable workplace environment and supportive relationships, we should all realize that no environment is truly perfect. We all encounter some conflict in our daily lives – whether it is in our personal lives or our work lives. Building and maintaining relationships is incredibly important, yet also so very challenging. Conflict is inevitable, but conflict can actually be an opportunity to strengthen a relationship. Generally speaking, collaborative conflict management is most useful in the workplace. In order to think collaboratively, it is always a good idea to try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person. This will help you to keep an open mind as well as provide you with an appreciation of another person’s perspective.

These six things should be considered in preparation for resolving a conflict:

  • Find a mutually convenient time and a physical space with no distractions
  • Include only those people involved in the situation
  • Give a description of the problem that respects all involved parties
  • Explain how conflict resolution can benefit all parties involved and the process
  • Agree not to slip back to win-lose methods
  • Write down ideas for future reference

Once you are prepared and find yourself with the opportunity to collaboratively resolve a conflict, consider the following simple steps:

  • Identify the conflict: Use “I” messages and active listening
  • Brainstorm potential solutions: Generate as many ideas as you can without evaluating them
  • Evaluate alternative: Will it work for everyone involved?
  • Agree on a solution that everyone can commit to: if agreement is hard, restate your needs and look for new solutions
  • Implement the solution: if the solution works, celebrate! If it doesn’t, fix the solution, not the person!

Try not to get discouraged if the first attempt to resolve the conflict is unsuccessful. Rather, remember that the solution is what needs to change, not the person. It is easier to change our own actions than the actions of others.

To be certain, there is far more positive interaction unfolding daily within our organization than negative, and that’s a win no matter how you slice it!

This blog is courtesy of Melissa Kershaw, MPT, Vice President of Professional Development and Education at the Chelsea Jewish Foundation.