Grow your workplace profitability: building positive work relationships & managing team conflict
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Grow your workplace profitability: building positive work relationships & managing team conflict

Workplace conflict in veterinary practices is not uncommon. The hierarchical nature of veterinary teams, with people from diverse backgrounds and different life experiences, and the veterinarian-client relationship can be sources of potential conflict in the workplace. However, it doesn’t have to be all negative.

11/09/2018 to 25/09/2018
When: 11-25 September, one day workshop Tuesday 18 September
8:30 AM
Where: Area Events
1 O'Reily Avenue
Wellington, Wellington 
New Zealand
Contact: Hannah Schrader
04 495 1140

Online registration is closed.
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About this course  

A productive veterinary workplace relies on teamwork and strong positive work relationships. Yet differences in status, attitudes and opinions inevitably leads to conflict in the workplace. While conflict is often detrimental it doesn’t have to be all negative. In fact, the ability to effectively manage conflict is one of the hallmarks of a successful organisation.

Conflict can be expressed in numerous ways; non-cooperation, frustration, anger and sometimes abuse. The causes can be related to personality clashes, unclarified roles, poor management and misunderstood communication. The negative effects include work disruptions, decreased productivity, absenteeism due to emotional or physical stress, high staff turnover, and loss of clientele and reduced standards of practice and patient care.

Few employers or employees possess the skills to effectively manage these challenging situations of conflict. This course will cover the current literature on veterinary workplace conflict with clients and staff and will provide strategies to manage and resolve them. Your improved skills and knowledge about effective positive communication and conflict resolution will build a supportive work environment, embrace healthy conflict and gain client confidence and trust through collaborative conversations. Having strategies in place to
resolve conflict in the early stages, the veterinary team will be seen as fair and trustworthy. The result is increased work satisfaction and more trusting client relationships.

Michael and Lab will work closely with participants over the 2-week period. The first week involves online learning and participants will be able to access research and useful strategies about how to improve veterinary team effectiveness and resolve workplace conflict. There will also be an online interactive discussion forum to make sure that participants are able to share their learning objectives as well as examples of workplace challenges they want to be able to manage better. The 1-day practical workshop is specifically designed to then address participants’ learning objectives in the context of concepts such as relationship centred communication, assertiveness and conflict resolution methods. The final week of online learning involves revisiting participants’ learning objectives, capturing feedback and clarifying strategies for managing future workplace conflict. Lab and Michael will be available for consultation during the whole learning process.  


Available before the workshop

1. Resolving Workplace Conflict

2. Relationship Centred Care

3. Improving Veterinary Team Effectiveness

4. Build Teams by Appreciative Enquiry & Learning from Mistakes

Workshop Agenda

 8:00 - 8:30  Registration 


8:30 – 9:00am


Introductions, Opening Remarks & Confirm Attendees Objectives



9:00 – 10:15am


Interactive Discussion on Principles of Relationship Centred Care



10:15 – 10:45am



Morning break


10:45 – 12:15pm


Communication and Conflict Resolution Practical Exercises



12:15 – 1:00pm





1:00 – 2:30pm


Practical Veterinary Team Building Small Group Exercises



2:30 – 3:00pm


Afternoon Break



2:45 – 4:30pm


Conflict Resolution Demonstration and Practice



4:30 – 5:00pm


Revisit Attendees Objectives, Future Directions & Closing Remarks



This two week online and one-day seminar comprises of practical sessions.

Online: 11-17 September

Workshop: 18 September

Online: 19 - 25 September 

Suitable for

All veterinary personnel.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Describe the causes of tension/conflict within the veterinary workplace.
  • Outline the benefits of workplace conflict.
  • Describe how relationship centred communication can reduce and prevent conflict.
  • Demonstrate fundamental communication skills such as listening, reflection and assertion skills.
  • Describe and demonstrate the “conflict resolution method”


Lab Wilson BVSc, Fellow Institute for Learning Professionals

Lab Wilson is a facilitator, learning and performance consultant and former veterinarian. His company, Bats, specializes in helping businesses achieve aligned action to enhance team performance and customer engagement. He strongly believes the development of knowledge-sharing relationships is vital to both of these. He also believes that selling can be done differently and is an integral part of the advisory relationship.

Lab is a Fellow of the Institute for Learning Professionals and the author of a book entitled “Customers as Learners”.

Michael Meehan BVSc, BSc (Hons), PhD (Veterinary Communication)

Michael graduated from the University of Queensland in 1991. He practiced as a companion animal veterinarian for 10 years in Australia and the United Kingdom returning in 2001 to complete an Honours degree in Psychology and then a PhD about training veterinarians in communication and consultation skill. He continued to practice as a veterinarian and was employed as a lecturer at University of Queensland, teaching veterinary students about communication skills and other non-technical competencies (ethics, human-animal bond, euthanasia and managing client grief, improving mental health and well-being). In 2011 he travelled to Canada for a tenure track position at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph researching and teaching into their Art of Veterinary Medicine program and training students at their Primary Healthcare Centre. He returned “down under” and “across the ditch” in 2015 and continues to practice as a veterinarian and teach and research into veterinary professional competencies.

CPD Points

Activities in this workshop can be recorded under either continuing veterinary education or collegial learning activity.


NZVA member/ vet nurse/ administrator
Additional attendee(s) - must be from same clinic $225
Vet non-member


All prices are in NZD and are GST inclusive.

If you're not a member of the NZVA you may find becoming a member and paying the member workshop fee a much better deal. Contact the membership team at for current membership rates.

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