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A method for measuring threats and errors in surgery

When a conflict exists, the first step is to decide whether to address it. That decision involves balancing the reward against price of addressing the issue; that balance is unique to each circumstance. Some general rules are that if the issue is troublesome enough that it is affecting your behavior or weighing on your conscience, it should be addressed. It is important not to confuse the perceived difficulty of the conversation with determination of whether it will be beneficial and appropriate to proceed. Perceived differences in power often impact a decision to address a conflict; however, lessons from aviation and other industries illustrate the benefits of open communication and the risks of silence even in situations of different levels of authority or power.19 20

Once it is been decided to address the conflict, there are several steps involved in preparation for the conversation. One step is to determine the exact nature of the conflict. When considering the exact nature of the conflict, some authors offer the following guidance.16 If the issue occurs once, it is appropriate to discuss the content of the issue; if it has occurred repeatedly, one should focus on the pattern of events. If the problem impacts your relationship with the other person or team members, then the topic should be your relationship. One pitfall of conflict management is allowing task or pattern type conflict to deteriorate to relationship conflict by overpersonalizing the issue. Another system appropriate for team conflict divides conflict into task, process, and relationship conflicts. Task conflict is similar to content conflict, while process conflict refers disagreement over team processes.