For all leaders, the ability to recognise the potential for conflict and the skills to resolve it are vital to the smooth running and success of the organisation.
Conflict is an unavoidable part of the job for clinicians and managers. Individuals are often promoted to leadership positions in recognition of their clinical or technical skills, rather than their management or leadership expertise or their ability to handle conflict.
Although some leaders seek to avoid conflict at all costs, well-managed conflict can bring positive results, such as identifying problems that need to be addressed; inspiring creative thinking; or relieving otherwise distracting tensions and stress.
Opportunities for conflict
There are many potential opportunities for conflict. Change is often associated with conflict, as when established policies and procedures are disrupted, a wave of discomfort is generated. The emotions and conflict that this generates requires careful managing.
For a health organisation to prosper it must be financially healthy, which can conflict with the organisation's clinical and societal mission. Leaders must balance clinical priorities and financial requirements.