NUMBER 65 • 12 JULY 2002 • INTER-STAFF RELATIONSHIPS
INDEX OF QUOTESReferences
In every agency there are times when staff members fail to see eye-to-eye. The entrance of new employees to the group, proposals for changing familiar practices, competition for materials and physical space, contrasting interpretations of professional responsibilities, differences in philosophy or style, and the unintentional violation of implicit program traditions all serve as potential sources of staff friction. In fact, discord among agency personnel poses a major problem for many child and youth care administrators. Overwhelmingly, supervisors agree that when dissension mars staff interactions, program morale is adversely affected and the quality of youth services is impaired (Szuch, 1988).
Conflict, in and of itself, need not be debilitating. Differences of opinion that are constructively expressed often contribute to the continued vitality of organizations (Hersey and Blanchard, 1988). However, dysfunction will occur when such differences are ignored or when they permeate the workplace in the form of grumbling, lack of cooperation, gossip, snide remarks, silent brooding, absenteeism, or high turnover. As an antidote to this dilemma, supervisors can teach staff members to bring their concerns out in the open using methods that neither harm the organization nor inhibit employees’ needs to express themselves freely.
A prerequisite to fruitful dialogue on areas of potential disagreement is an atmosphere in which open communication about concerns and differences is not only encouraged but required. If this has not already been established, development of such an atmosphere will be a long and laborious process; it will not take place overnight, nor can administrators simply demand that it happen. Rather, supervisors must set into motion a series of gradual changes that will lead to the ultimate goal of more constructive interactions among staff members.
The first step in developing candid, constructive methods of communication is for administrators themselves to model the behaviors they expect workers to use with one another.
— MARJORIE KOSTELNIK
Kostelnik, M.J. (1988) Productive resolution of conflict. The Child and Youth Care Adminstrator, vol..1, Fall 1988, pp.56-57
Szuch, R. (1988) Staff dysfunction. The Child and Youth Care Administrator, Vol.1(1), 35-37
Hersey, P. and Blanchard, K.H. (1978). Management of organizational behavior: Utilizing human resources. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall