The Benefits of Nipping Conflict in the Bud for Leaders

#phyiscianleaders leadership leadershipdevelopment May 10, 2023

Hi Physician Leaders,


I'm Dr. Lisa, Board Certified Family Physician, Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Executive Leadership Coach. I help physicians transition into leadership roles so they can be the respected voice in healthcare.

We all know that conflict arises for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because people have different values or different opinions. People have different work styles which may lead to conflict. Sometimes conflict develops because of assumptions, assumptions about what we think someone said or did to us. If we don't address conflict right away, it can escalate and cause turmoil in the workplace. It can lead to demoralization of the team, decreased productivity, and a toxic work environment. In the healthcare space, it can lead to substandard patient care and negative patient outcomes.


It’s critical that we address conflicts when they arise.

In my recent video, I talked about the five top tips for managing conflict. You can view it here

  1. Recognize it early.
  2. Encourage communication.
  3. Identify the root cause.
  4. Look for areas of common ground.
  5. Put an action plan in place.

In this blog post, I want to identify the benefits of nipping conflict in the bud with the tips above.


  1. Reducing Escalation: When conflicts are addressed early, it is less likely for them to escalate into bigger problems. The longer a conflict goes on, the more likely it is for emotions to get involved and for the conflict to become more difficult to resolve. How many times have you experienced colleagues who don’t talk to each other or who get into heated exchanges every time they interact? Typically, there is an underlying conflict that has gone on too long and escalated. Nipping conflict in the bud can prevent these negative outcomes.
  2. Saving Time and Energy: Resolving conflicts early can save leaders and their team members a lot of time and energy. The longer a conflict lingers, the more work has to be done to resolve the conflict. This can consume a lot of time and resources, ultimately leading to less productivity.
  3. Maintaining a Positive Workplace Culture: A positive workplace culture is one in which people feel valued, respected, and supported. When workplaces allow conflicts to fester, it creates an environment that feels like you’re walking on eggshells. This leads to decreased job satisfaction, decreased morale, and decreased retention of talent. By addressing conflicts early, leaders can help maintain a positive workplace culture where people feel heard and understood.
  4. Strengthening Relationships: When conflicts are resolved early, relationships between team members can be strengthened. If a conflict is allowed to go on for a long time, emotions are heightened, the chance for negative interactions happens repeatedly and relationships suffer. By addressing the issue early on, directly, and constructively, team members may gain a better understanding of each other's perspectives and ultimately work more effectively together.
  5. Improving Decision-Making: Conflicts can have a negative impact on decision-making processes. Sometimes, unconsciously, our emotions can get in the way of making the best decision. We can rely on the negative experience that we had with someone to guide our decisions. By addressing conflicts early, leaders can prevent them from interfering with the decision-making process and ensure that decisions are made based on objective criteria, rather than emotional reactions.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. As always…..I'm Dr. Lisa, Board Certified Family Physician, Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Executive Leadership Coach. Through my coaching programs, courses, and books, I help physicians transition into leadership roles so they can be the respected voice in healthcare.

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