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MCH Leadership Competencies

Competency 6: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

DEFINITION

Negotiation is a cooperative process where participants try to find a solution that meets the legitimate interests of involved parties; it is a discussion intended to produce an agreement.

Conflict resolution is the process of resolving or managing a dispute by sharing each party’s points of view and adequately addressing their interests so that they are satisfied with the outcome.

Leadership in a health environment requires knowledge and skills in negotiation and conflict resolution to address differences among: stakeholders over community health issues; health care providers about appropriateness and quality of care; managers in regard to financial and administrative issues; providers and families related to access and services; and larger systems over policy, funding, and quality of care. 2

MCH professionals approach negotiations and conflict with objectivity and are open to new information but aware of long-term desired outcomes that include relationship-building and development of trust. They recognize when compromise is appropriate to overcome an impasse and when persistence toward a different solution is warranted.

KNOWLEDGE AREAS

MCH leaders will demonstrate a working knowledge of:

  • Characteristics of conflict and how conflict is manifested in organizational contexts.
  • Sources of potential conflict in an interdisciplinary setting. These could include differences in terminology and norms among disciplines and the relationships between mentors and students.
  • The theories pertaining to conflict management and negotiation among groups with differing interests.
  • The strategies and techniques useful for successful negotiation with various groups.
  • The potentially positive/catalyst role of conflict in the change process.

SKILLS

Foundational. At a foundational level, MCH leaders will:

  1. Understand their own points of view and negotiation/ conflict-handling styles, and possess emotional self-awareness and self-regulation.
  2. Understand others’ points of view, how various styles can influence negotiation and conflict resolution, and how to adapt to others’ styles to resolve differences.
  3. Apply strategies and techniques of effective negotiation and evaluate the impact of personal communication and negotiation style on outcomes.
  4. Advanced. Building on the foundational skills, MCH leaders will:
  5. Demonstrate the ability to manage conflict in a constructive manner.
  6. Navigate and address the ways culture, power, socioeconomic status, and inequities shape conflict and the ability to come to resolution.
  7. Use consensus building to achieve common understanding, goals, and activities to solve problems.

FOOTNOTE:

(2) Adapted from Harvard’s School of Public Health Program on Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Available at www.hsph.harvard.edu/hcncr


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