Fixation on Histology

Tips for Dealing with Conflict in the Lab


Janice Cook

In August of 2021, Janice Cook attended the NSH Emerging Leadership Course.  Below she shares her learned insights for dealing with conflict when it arise

First, take a deep breath, and if you are upset, wait so you can address the person/group when you can stay calm.  When a conflict arises in the lab, below are tools you can use to calm the situation and deal with it in a positive manners in the lab.

  • Instead of confronting the whole group at the same time, listen to each person’s opinion/side of the story individually first
  • When you acknowledge the conflict with everyone together, you should then break into smaller units, and have each unit come up with a resolution—being careful to break up the people into units that do NOT consist of existing alliances.
  • Make sure to thank the team for their participation in trying to find a resolution to the conflict/problem and then show that you have listened to each person/group involved by clarifying the problem, repeating their resolutions, and what is good/bad about it allowing you create an action plan that has everyone’s input.

Sometimes even using these methods it is hard to come up with a resolution that will make everyone happy. Depending on the nature of the conflict, it just may not be possible. Once the resolution has been decided and shared make sure to schedule a future date to meet back with everyone, to see how the resolution is working. 

A final thought - keep an open-door policy.  This allows employees to feel comfortable to come in and discuss privately how they think things are going or any current concerns they have in the lab.

Written by:  Janice Cook, HT(ASCP)