associated techniques) may be most effectively applied, according to the specifics of
the situation. No one particular mode represents the right technique for every issue.
At times, the accommodating mode may
be the most effective technique. Other
times the compromising mode may net
the best resolution.
When it comes to complex issues,
research consistently shows that collaborating produces superior decisions on complex and non routine issues. 12 To facilitate
use of the collaboration mode, administrators can start by first allowing everyone to
express their concerns. Then allow everyone to state their respective positions;
which represent their recommended solutions. If the concerns are separated from
the positions, the group can work on
brainstorming multiple solutions. “What
differentiates collaborating from other
conflict-handling modes is that people are
listening to others’ views, not just focusing
on their own, and are trying to incorporate
them into sound decisions.” 12
Administrators should be aware of the
various conflict resolution styles of the
members of their management teams and
encourage them to continuously improve
these skills. Ignoring or avoiding conflicts
can often cause small issues to grow into
larger ones. Administrators and managers
should understand that workplace conflict is a natural phenomenon. The goal is
not to eliminate all conflict; the goal is to
Coaching managers to continuously seek out opportunities
for positive change is an important aspect of an
administrator’s mentoring efforts. Never be satisfied
with simply maintaining the status quo.
effectively resolve conflict, to not become
too distracted by its effects, and to subsequently move on to the important work of
improving patient care.
Do Not Be Satisfied with the Status Quo
Administrators must help their managers
understand they are responsible for seeking out opportunities to implement changes
that enhance patient care, improve staff
efficiency, reduce costs, and advance patient
safety initiatives. A well-developed and well-rounded manager will inherently appreciate the importance of this job responsibility. However, it can be time-consuming
and sometimes overwhelming for managers just to keep on top of daily operations. The multiple functional areas,
uniqueness of each modality, and variety of
frontline staff associated with a typical
imaging facility can be challenging to manage. Just keeping up with the complexity of
maintaining the status quo can take up a
great deal of time and energy. 14
Administrators must encourage man-
agers to seek out methods to continuously
improve operations. Methodologies for
implementing changes that will result in
improvements are well-documented—eg,
Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycle, Lean,
and Six Sigma. Oftentimes, Lean or Six
Sigma projects require extensive training, a
high level of data analysis skills, or an out-
side consultant. 15 However, the PDSA Cycle
is relatively simple to learn and somewhat
easier to implement. Concepts associated
with the PDSA Cycle were first proposed
during WWII for industrial engineering
quality improvement. PDSA is widely used
and can be applied to many performance
improvement projects. 15 Administrators
should advise managers to start with small
(in scope) improvement projects. See Box 3.
BOX 3. Steps in the PDSA Cycle
• Plan: Define the objective of the project. Determine the problem to be solved or the question to be
answered. Plan the change that will take place and define who, what, where, and when. Collect data.
• Do: Implement the plan. Document problems encountered. Begin to review the data.
• Study: Analyze all data and summarize lessons learned.
• Act: Make necessary changes based on data analysis and lessons learned.
Source: Langley GJ, Moen RD, Nolan KM. The Improvement Guide A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2009.