Does interpersonal conflict keep you up at night?


For those of you interested in diving deeper into this subject, scroll down to the bottom of the email for a special offer… ⬇️

Thank you for joining us for Part 2 of the new series on interpersonal conflict from our education partners, The Lincoln Institute.  If you missed part 1 you can find it on our website here.

How has your understanding of ‘accountability’ changed since our first message in the September newsletter?  Have you found yourself thinking of accountability as more than the day-to-day responsibilities of each member of your veterinary team? Have you found yourself turning inward over the last week and asking how you can demonstrate ownership in your own role, to help others do the same?

Interpersonal Conflict

The accountability conundrum, as we explained in the newsletter, is that accountability is complex, and it requires a combination of leadership and culture to be sustained. When we experience a lack of accountability in veterinary practice, it can lead to interpersonal conflict and relationships between our staff suffer as a result.

Interpersonal conflict refers to any type of conflict involving two or more people.

Consider this example:
An in-patient receives the wrong dose of medication. The nurse who administered the injection followed the directions as per the cage side hospital card… or so they thought. Unfortunately, the prescribing veterinarian does not produce the neatest of handwriting. This leads both to point the finger at the other. The prescribing veterinarian urges the nurse to please check if they’re unsure, while the nurse asks they, at least, write legible records!

If interpersonal conflicts aren’t managed, they escalate and tend to have a ripple effect that spreads outward, ultimately impacting team harmony.

Now consider this:
One of the staff involved was overheard in the lunchroom venting about the other to a colleague. Word of this conversation is spreading amongst the team, causing some to take sides in the conflict. Sound familiar? 

While conflict is a natural part of our everyday lives, it doesn’t have to be something that you fear approaching in the workplace. As practice owners and managers, we shouldn’t shy away from having difficult conversations. In fact, managing conflict is an integral aspect of our role.

But is there something bigger going on?

Performance Management

In Lincoln Institute’s recent survey (Business Leadership Audit, 2022), they identified that: 

> 60.5% of respondents altered their approach to poor performance and/or behaviour out of fear of losing staffMore than half of Australian and New Zealand veterinary professionals surveyed aren’t taking the required actions to manage poor performance and behaviour out of fear of losing Staff.

> Additionally, 78.4% of respondents are experiencing higher than normal stress due to recruitment challenges.

At a time of unprecedented staff shortages, practice owners and managers may inadvertently fuel employee attrition in their efforts to keep the peace. When left unresolved, interpersonal conflict only increases, creating distrust and resentment in your team. The ailing workplace engagement that ensues can lead your best talent to start looking elsewhere. In fact, they will likely be the first to depart.  

It’s a vicious cycle that is only broken with sound leadership.  

If you enjoy this content and want to learn even more from us, we hope you’ll consider joining us at The Veterinary Business Symposium:

What: Veterinary Business Symposium, Auckland
When: Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 October 2023
Where: Rydges Formosa Golf Resort, Beachlands, Auckland

This transformative face-to-face training will provide you with a blueprint for unlocking the full potential of your practice. Whether you are in companion animal, production, equine or mixed practice, we will provide the mindset, skills, and strategies to consistently outperform your competition. 

In 48 hours, you will gain the indispensable knowledge and skills to:

☑️ Prioritise the wellbeing of your team.
☑️ Engage your team to treat the business as their own.
☑️ Confidently manage the performance and behaviour of staff.
☑️ Build a stable and sustainable work force without fear of losing staff.
☑️ Create a highly profitable practice with the financial freedom to pay your people well and invest in education, facilities, and equipment.


Gribbles Veterinary has partnered with The Lincoln Institute to give you two tickets for the price of one! Use coupon code VBS2for1 upon checkout to save 50% when you buy two tickets.