Workplace Conflict: Causes, Types And Steps To Resolve It

Workplace Conflict: Causes, Types And Steps To Resolve It

The Facts

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Workplace conflicts can occur due to personality, goals, racial bias, & perspectives differences among employees. While some arguments at the office occur due to mismanagement at the workplace, others can happen due to differences over work methods.

Types of Workplace Conflicts 

Personality-based conflicts are the most common in the office, where one might distaste someone else’s personality. However, this is not the only type of conflict that happens at the office.

Check out some other types of office conflicts here- 

  • Task-based Conflicts: Task-based conflicts arise when employees work in an interdependent project. If one employee fails to deliver their task on time, the whole team suffers arising conflicts.
  • Leadership Conflicts: Every leader has a different style of working. While some are more laid-back & inviting, others are strict. If a particular leader cannot match up with the personalities of his team, conflicts happen. 
  • Workstyle Conflicts: Every employee has a different work style. While some people prefer to work alone, others may favor team tasks. These differences can lead to conflicts when workers who like to work alone have to collaborate with others.
  • Conflicts From Discrimination: Discrimination due to age, ethnicity, race & gender is often the cause of office conflicts. It arises from a lack of open-mindedness, understanding, and cultural acceptance.
  • Creative Idea-based Conflicts: Creative idea conflicts often happen as every worker has a voice and work style of their own. Two employees can disagree as they strongly believe in their original ideas. 

Why is Resolving Workplace Conflict Necessary?

85% of employees face office conflicts & 9% of workers say that conflicts reduce employees' ability to complete projects. Now, this negatively impacts a company's revenue and increases monetary losses. However, is that all? No. Here are some crucial reasons why addressing workplace conflicts is vital for business growth.  

  • Ignoring conflicts can cause aggressive work settings and impact workplace morale & productivity.
  • Constant work conflicts lead to absenteeism and higher staff turnover.
  • Prolonged office conflict among employees can lead to legal problems.
  • Office conflicts increase anxiety, stress, and tension and stress in the office leading to poor work performances.
  • Disagreements in the office demotivate workers & create a toxic workplace culture. 
  • The more the office staff spends time on arguments, the more negligence in their duties increases.
  • Regular conflicts among employees harm the public image of a company & impact the customer experience.

Most Common Causes of Workplace Conflicts

Many factors can affect how an employee behaves in the office. Here are the top reasons that cause office conflicts.

  • Unclarified Job Roles and Poor Responsibility Distribution in the Workplace

When a company fails to provide clear job roles to each employee, work conflicts happen due to confusion. Besides, when one employee is given the unofficial position of supervising another worker, jealousy & resentment can increase.

  • Lack of Opportunities 

Workforce slowdown & sudden reduction in the workforce often causes anxiety in employees. In such situations, when a team member gets a promotion, others may start feeling left out. It often causes work style conflicts among each other while working on the same project. 

  • Unhappy Employees and Poor Work Environment

Failing to communicate well, presumptions about someone's personality, & distrust among workers can cause workplace conflicts.  Therefore, it is crucial to teach employees to resolve their differences in time. 

  • Personality Differences 

49% of office conflicts happen due to personality clashes. Disagreements arise when a new member responds to a challenging situation in an unproductive way. In such circumstances, other teammates become distasteful towards the person. Result? Arguments become inevitable.

  • Unrealistic Expectations 

Workers won't appreciate it if you overload them with work & make it difficult for them to carry out responsibilities. Therefore, conflict at work often happens when employers ignore the needs of workers. 

  • Unclear Company Policies

A company must exhibit its fair procedures and policies in its behavior. However, when a company fails to do so, employees lose trust in management. In such cases, if an office conflict happens, they hesitate to go to the supervisor, and the fights increase. 

  • Unresolved Harassment Issues at the Office 

Your employees might want to move to another team for various reasons. Unfortunately, one of them can be conflicts with colleagues. If your senior managers do not try to find the root cause,  aggression in the office may increase.

  • Lack Promotions at Work

If a company fails to provide work satisfaction to its employees, conflicts are inevitable. Sometimes office conflict happens when employees feel they are not appreciated. It increases resentment against managers, and disputes arise when workers feel managers are biased. Therefore, a company’s appraisals or pay systems must be equal to all employees.

How Can You Tackle Workplace Conflicts?

  • Resolve Conflicts by Talking with the Other Person

Working out the differences by patiently talking with your colleague can help build a good relationship. Ensure to arrange a meeting where you won't be interrupted by a third party as it can escalate fights.

  • Focus on the particular incident while resolving fights

Describe a specific instance rather than saying that the person is always wrong. It shows that you don’t detest the person, but only one incident has bothered you. 

  • Listen to your office pal's side of the story

Let the other person say what he thinks rather than interrupting the other person or reacting. You can ask questions to clarify your understanding if you have doubts honestly. 

  • Raise the points of agreement and disagreement after a conversation

If you argue with a co-worker earlier, they will disagree with you on various points. Therefore, it is crucial to talk it out and modify your assessment until the person agrees with you. 

  • Examine the areas of conflict 

Discussing with your team which areas of conflict are most crucial can reduce the possibility of future fights. 

  • Plan to work on workplace conflict from the beginning of the interview process

If you ask candidates about their past office conflict experiences, you can tackle such situations in the future. Therefore, be proactive and try to curb potential office conflict situations before they happen. 

  • Focus on the future and always follow through with your plan

Setting up meetings multiple times to discuss workplace conflicts helps employees to work on their disputes.

  • Appreciate office mates' insights and achievements

Congratulating others when they progress can motivate them to be more friendly & empathic. This lesson the possibility of misunderstanding & workplace disagreements.

  • Make robust company guidelines on how workers should behave if they experience conflict

Management should be strict that they expect their staff to resolve conflicts themselves before approaching a manager for help. This approach will push employees to solve their problems fast.

  • Leaders should be ready to train employees on how to reduce workplace conflicts

95% of workers say conflict resolving training is beneficial. Therefore, the Senior Management of a company must be available to coach office staff on handling critical work situations. 

  • Make robust company policies

Ensure all employees notify managers if they are involved in physical violence, theft, etc. Workers should not have to handle every conflict on their own. A company should state it clearly that they won’t ignore inappropriate or potentially illegal behavior. 

Lastly, your staff must understand how empathic workplace culture is best for their progress. To do so, expert training on how to improve office skills is vital. So why wait? Contact Get Impactly now for the best diversity-training courses. 

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