Teamwork is essential in healthcare. Yet, too often, we act as individuals looking after our own interests. Solving problems together, even if the objectives seem opposed, is beneficial for all parties for many reasons.
Stephen Covey introduced the principle of win-win in his book the Seven habits of highly effective people. It’s still a great principle for conflict resolution, incl in teams, groups, organisations etc. Covey:
Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!
A win-loose outcome is bad for all parties. Even though the winner may feel triumphant, the loser may not want to deal with the winner ever again.
So what’s required for a win-win result? First of all it requires an open mind. Black & white or good & bad thinking is not helpful and often not realistic either. Secondly, understanding the other party is crucial: Where do they stand? What is important for them? Where is the common ground? And finally: flexibility, as there are always more solutions to a problem.
Win-win is not about being nice, as Covey said. It’s about being courageous and considerate at the same time.