Thursday, December 1, 2011

Human Services Management Course: Communication Conflict In The Workplace

Describe a situation in which you had a conflict with a subordinate or supervisor

At the facility I work with, I was surprised overhearing a new coordinator as a facility management representative to the organization insisting that her process of cleaning the house she will not hire/promoting in-staff members  to the managers’ position; rather she will promote or hire facility’s managers from outside of the organization or different division staffs. I believe that this model will create bad perceptions not only to me personally, but also to any staff-member from my facility. Since she took management in the facility late last year, she hired two managers, one from different setting division, another one new recruit, they did not last more than three months because of nature of setting of my facility and individuals. Normally, before the new coordinator, managers’ position use to be by promoting floor staff members to the manager’s position. It gave the managers’ a sense of awareness of individuals, staffs, and well experienced the responsibilities and duties of the staff members. In the new system, managers found themselves working with total strangers, in strange settings, and strange individuals, and they would burn out very quick. Also some staff members were reluctant to support these new managers, something that made their job very difficult and stressful. For example, “Honest disagreements emerge because well-intentioned staffs feel strongly about fundamental directions”. (Brody, R. (2005), page 369)

What were the concrete issues?

The model of managing the facility uses will unite all staff members and management to fulfill the main goal, that is to serve the best interests of the clients/individuals. To do so the management should understand that staff members are the back born of the facility. The model of the new coordinator, downsized the morale of staffs, jeopardized the positions of new hired managers, and in a bigger picture interfered the best interests of the clients/individuals. Fore example, managers should be aware that their “reactions are constantly being observed and interpreted by each member of the staff in a very personal way”. (Brody, R. (2005), page 367). In this instance, some workers started to transfer to different facilities, or find new jobs, because they did not see any future for them for working with the facility or organization that has no promotion policies.

Describe the flow of communication in chronological order

My organization chronological order starts with President, Division Director, Resident/Program Coordinator, Resident Manger, Assistant Resident Manager, and staff-members. Every facility, including my facility has a Resident Coordinator, Resident Manger, Assistant Resident Manager and staff members.

Describe how, when and where the communication occured at each step of the way (i.e. e-mail, telephone, face-to-face, in the context of a meeting etc.) Note anything about the environment or time of day or week that may have made the conflict worse. (For instance, late Friday afternoon after a tiring week, etc.)

The communication occurred during the staff meeting after the facility stayed for months without having a Resident Manager that covers day shift, when one staff raised the question about hiring a Resident manger. Prior the new coordinator the facility stayed about 5 months without a coordinator. Then the coordinator answered the question that in her management she is not going to hire new mangers from in house.

Few days after the meeting, most staffs started to look for different facilities to transfer, and some searched for new jobs because the morale and expectations went down.

Describe any emotional issues, personality factors, past history etc. that might have made the situation more volatile

When the new managers were hired from outside the house and did not know anything about individuals or care plans, and did not last long. Then some of their responsibilities fell on the staff members due to lack of potential managers in the facility and understaffing situation that lead to mandatory overtimes every day.

Describe major "phases" of the encounter

Started with lack of trust to the management, inexperienced managers and some times no managers at all, managers’ responsibilities been taken by staff members, burn out, transferring or quit/fired and call inns, and excessive mandatory overtime especially for overnight position,

What was the end result?

They Assistant Behavior Specialist, and LPN were given the responsibilities of Resident and Assistant Resident Managers, until when they got good candidate for Resident manager who worked hand in hand with the LPN and Assistant Behavior Specialist. Staffs were some how satisfied since they don’t bare the Managers responsibilities or mandatory overtimes that were inconvenient to them.

As you reflect on this encounter, what helped it come to resolution? Was there anything that made the situation worse?

Situation is not resolved yet because staff members still feels there is no successful progress if one cannot be promoted if qualified. This is real for those who want to accelerate with the organization. This means that most people working in the facility are students and single parents who can get convenient schedule or funds to raise family and don’t want to bother with manager’s position.

If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently and why?

I would have promote or hire a right candidate who will implement the mission and objectives of the facility that reflects the organizational goals, regardless of in house or in agency. A right candidate would have been capable and qualified for the position’s responsibilities as set forth. This could avoid misunderstanding, and all misperception about manager’s position and facility or organizational hiring policies. However, there could be the same procedure for interviewing managers or staff members applicants as usual, the organization through HR has that in place, but the Coordinator is the one who looks and choose who she wants for the positions and then set dates for the interviews.


1.         Brody, R. (2005). Effectively managing human service organizations. Thousand Oaks, Calif., SAGE Publications.

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