Compromising Employ give-and-take so that the resulting agreement partially satisfies each of the conflicting parties. Problem solving A collaboration which brings out and satisfies the fundamental concerns of each of the parties, perhaps after many time-consuming and soul-searching discussions. Each conflict management style above is most appropriate to two of the situations listed below. As a user of financial reports, you have become involved in a conflict between the controllers office and top management. This afternoon’s management meeting has been called to determine space requirements in a new office building. You’re having a running argument with marketing, which is committed to a huge advertising campaign for product features that you feel are impractical. You are involved in a conflict with another department head, but you’ll need her support next month for a proposal of your own. Avoiding conflict is a good posture in situations where you are an outsider (#2) or where you are relatively powerless (#7). Yielding can be very effective when you recognize that the issue is much more important to the other party then to you (#5) or where you want to gain allies (#9).
Compromising is often the most appropriate mode when both parties have equal power, such as in union negotiations (#1). Problem-solving is the best mode for long-term results, but it doesn’t work in all circumstances.
The easiest conflict trap is to feel constrained to one method, because, perhaps, it’s the one that comes naturally to you.
John is an accomplished executive with impressive senior-level strategic management experience and success recognized industry-wide for contributions to healthcare information technology and management systems.
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In this entry we look at a project conflict resolution tool and relate it to a news event from today’s papers which is funny in a way, but very, very sad in another way. The tool is the Thomas-Kilmann model, which sounds very fancy and hard to understand but is actually very straightforward, powerful, and applicable to your role as a project manager in understanding and dealing with conflict. See the map below to locate this (former) island, called New Moore by India and South Talpatti by Bangladesh.
This entry was posted in General Earth PM Postings, PM Resources and tagged agressive, assertive, avoiding, collaborate, collaboration, competing, conflict, conflict management, conflict mode, cooperation, directive, displaced, evacuate, flooding, global warming, kilmann, ocean, ocean rise, sea, sea rise, submerged, thomas-kilmann. Some are loud and combustible, while others have slow-simmering feuds and long-standing resentments. Conflicts tend to erupt around holidays and other occasions that bring family members into the same airspace.
Of course, there is usually much more fanning the flames of conflict than the stress of the moment. From “Mom liked you best” to “You always got away with everything”, a wide range of old grudges, rivalries and hostilities may bubble up as the family grapples with new and sometimes harsh realities. In the midst of a health care crisis it often surfaces that Mom has named a Power of Attorney, or structured a trust in a particular way, and one family member is believed to have more power, influence or “favor” than another. When Dad becomes ill, the children from his first marriage may work hard to unseat the second wife from a role of influence, control, or financial benefit. When we meet a family in the midst of a medical crisis, we have no way of knowing what the history in that family might be.
Tensions commonly materialize when some members of the family are in denial about the gravity of a healthcare setback, or are simply less ready than others to acknowledge that the parent may not survive the current predicament.
In almost every family there is a perceived or real imbalance in the contributions made by adult children. It is important for professional care providers to maintain a strong patient focus.   The care needs are here and now, and they can be addressed and resolved.


Care providers must also resist the temptation to take sides or to assume who is “bad” in a given situation. The benefits of a professional Lifecare Manager are invaluable in a complex medical situation, with or without family conflict. When conflict is an issue, Lifecare Managers can act as a neutral party and provide a much-needed buffer when family members find it difficult to talk to one another or even be in the same room.
In instances where the patient’s decisional capacity is impaired, it is not unusual for family members to scramble for control of the destabilized family hierarchy – if Mom or Dad has been the de facto leader of the family for decades and now cannot make decisions, a power vacuum will form and some family members may rush to fill it. If the ailing parent has not named a Power of Attorney, or if the named agent is suspected of exploitation or neglect and there is no successor agent, the matter could go to guardianship. The patient is safe, well-served, and finally, perhaps, able to achieve some level of peace as the professionals around them ensure their care needs are faithfully met. It’s also necessary in situations where unpopular, but necessary policies or practices must be implemented (#8). It works well when resolving personality conflicts (#6) and when cooperation and commitment are needed (#10). An understanding of alternatives, coupled with reflection prior to a confrontation, can result in choosing the most effective posture. Nationally respected on topics of social media, technology and strategic business alignment, he serves as a Vistage Chair and Host of CEOIntroNet TV Chicagoland as well as an advisor to Boards and business leaders.
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When the occasion involves the failing health of a parent, family conflict can impact the patient, the care they receive and those who do their best to provide it. Siblings may resent what they see as ancient patterns continuing into current circumstances, stirring up buried feelings about fairness or their position in the family pecking order. This can set up the formation of factions in the family, and revive old resentments about past circumstances where this same sibling was perceived to hold some advantage.
If there are two sets of children from two marriages, who will be at Dad’s beside and who has he chosen to lead and decide? This can cause what appears to be indifference among adult children when, in fact, they may be trying to maintain some distance from the parent to avoid further emotional pain. Children who are estranged or seemingly disengaged from the parent may have suffered abuse from Mom or Dad, or may have grown up in an alcoholic and unstable home. Some members of the family may harbor concerns about their prospective inheritance, causing them to question expenditures and even withhold care. A plan must be hastily put together to ensure the disabled family member’s needs are met, adding to the pressure of an already-difficult situation.
The local daughter may do most of the work, simply because she is geographically close to the ailing parent.
Often, the patient is aware of the tension and combativeness around them, and they may even feel a sense of responsibility for it. It can be helpful to continually redirect family members back to this very basis proposition: We are here to help this particular family member, and their care needs must take precedence over ancillary family squabbles. It is an easy, unconscious thing to identify with a member of a patient’s family who somehow mirrors the role we play in our own family.
Each of these approaches introduces an element of neutrality and offers warring family members an opportunity to take a break from one another and work through a calm, professional intermediary. A qualified Lifecare Manager can assess the client, identify options and lead families through the crisis with knowledge, competence and the ability to get things done. Family members often accept the recommendations of a professional more readily than they do the wishes of a sister, for example, and they may gladly assign the role of intermediary to a care manager to calm the conflict and strengthen the focus on care. There is a formal certification process to become a Mediator (Lifecare Innovations has two Certified Mediators). The Mediator assists the participants in framing objectives, generating and evaluating options and, ideally, developing a Memorandum of Understanding (a path forward on which all can agree).


The patient is vulnerable and highly exploitable in a situation like this, and battles over money and leadership are likely to erupt. It is not unusual for the court to hear arguments from each side of a split family as to which party should be named guardian. Siblings are often at peace with the role of a neutral professional simply because it means that a sister or brother they can’t trust is not in a position to deny them access to a parent. Conflict management involves implementing strategies to limit the negative aspects of conflict and to resolve the conflict to a an equal or better outcome. In each case you’re expected to play a role in the management of the conflict, hopefully in its constructive resolution.
Perhaps you’re recognized as a skillful negotiator, a compromiser, or a dictator whose tolerance for conflict is minimal.
In the long run, however, consistently avoiding conflict is a negative, branding you as someone with few options and little to contribute.
Remember, however, that compromising always leaves each party somewhat disappointed, with unresolved issues that are sure to arise again.
Adult children are called upon to make major decisions – and quickly – about treatments and placements and home care, all things they may know little about. For these and other reasons, they may be reluctant – or simply unable – to be near the person who hurt them.
There have certainly been many documented instances of “borrowing” from parental funds, too, when no such loans were granted, another natural springboard for conflict. Simmering beneath the surface may be concerns, too, that Mom or Dad won’t be able to care for this disabled family member anymore, and someone else will have to take responsibility. Long-held resentments will not be settled or solved at a time like this and, sadly, while family members are occupied by their own squabbles, they miss out on opportunities to spend quality time with the parent whose bedside they surround. We inadvertently bring our own emotional baggage to the situation, and may inappropriately bond with one family member and assume their position is “right” or “good”. As the healthcare system grows more complicated by the day, a care manager can navigate insurance problems, arrange for additional services and in every way make the family’s choices easier. Families in conflict must agree to follow the guidelines laid out by the Mediator, all designed to achieve the goal of identifying reasonable and mutually acceptable options. Sometimes, one side of the family will petition for a neutral third-party guardian to be named to calm the situation down and stop the cycle of endless fighting. The sense that a solution is fair to all involved parties, and not weighted in one direction or another, tends to mollify distraught family members and lead to more effective decision-making and delivery of care. Furthermore, the aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes (effectiveness or performance in organizational setting).
To help clarify the alternatives available to you, here are five styles of conflict management, followed by a brief quiz to see whether you know the situations where each would be most effective. On the other hand, she may refuse offers of help because she has a need to control things and has had a major hand in creating the current workload imbalance.
We can’t and won’t know the whole story, and it is not our place as professionals to judge. It is extremely helpful, however, in keeping families focused on objectives and narrowing down the options that have perhaps confused them and torn the family apart. Lifecare Guardianship has been named in such scenarios, assuring that an impartial professional will make responsible decisions that are neither punitive nor driven by emotion, and will communicate with all concerned.
In this field of study, you will learn to make conflict constructive for you and your organization.



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