Turn Tough Communication into Problem-Solving Strategies

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Consider this scenario: Mary the assistant is very frustrated because she feels that Sue at the front desk is unnecessarily interrupting staff members with insignificant scheduling questions and “problems” when they are with patients. Sue’s initial reaction is very negative because she feels that Mary is trivializing her need for clear communication from the clinical staff. But instead of lashing out, Sue decides to ask for examples and listens to Mary’s perception of the interruptions.


She thanks Mary for calling her attention to the issue and decides to focus on addressing the matter constructively rather than reacting negatively to what she could choose to interpret as unjust criticism. She develops a plan to raise the issue at the next staff meeting and solicit input from the clinical team. Sue is prepared to share with the team situations in which she has felt the matter necessitated an interruption and would like guidance on how to handle similar matters in the future. No drama, no tears, no false accusations, just a clean and clear approach to addressing an issue that has become a problem, and if not addressed can lead to unnecessary conflict among the team.

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