Why Your Health Care Team Doesn't Get Along


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Don't ignore these common root causes of team conflict.

Fam Pract Manag. 2016 Jan-Feb;23(1):40.

Author disclosure: The author provides leadership, management, and staff development training for health care professionals.

Too often health care managers spend their time dealing with conflict in the workplace. Many leaders I work with tell the same story: Their teams are affected, to one degree or another, by infighting, negative attitudes, cliques, back-biting, gossip, and angst. In the highly charged environment that is health care, stress comes with the territory, but when team conflict is pervasive, the root causes need to be identified and addressed.

Here are four common causes:

1. You tolerate bad behavior. If managers fail to hold individuals accountable for inappropriate, disrespectful, or negative comments or for lazy, sloppy, or substandard performance, the team suffers. Establish expectations for how team members will communicate and act, and appropriately address those who don't meet expectations. Insist that members of your team treat each other with respect and perform the duties of their job well. Make it clear in words and actions that anything

About the Author

Joe Mull is president of Ally Training & Development and author of Cure for the Common Leader: What Physicians & Managers Must Do to Engage & Inspire Healthcare Teams.

Author disclosure: The author provides leadership, management, and staff development training for health care professionals.


The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of FPM or our publisher, the American Academy of Family Physicians. We encourage you to share your views. Send comments to, or add your comments below.


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