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The Reasons for Work Conflicts and How to Handle Them

Sep 13, 2022
The Reasons for Work Conflicts and How to Handle Them

Quite often, conflicts in life are the result of poor communication. This means more than just passive-aggressive behavior, though—disputes can also arise due to misunderstandings and close-mindedness.

How do you spot the issues?

Many of us think there must not be a problem if no one is arguing, but harassment may take place on different levels. Sometimes it may not be limited to one person, and even a group of people may misbehave towards a coworker.

Make sure you are neither a victim nor a participant of any of the following actions at your workplace:

  • Insults
  • Anger
  • Non-cooperation
  • Bullying

Tolerance, open-mindedness, and a willingness to help make you a valuable team player. The majority of tech companies are all about collaboration. All efforts are directed toward the product in these businesses.

Conflict types

Let’s take a closer look at the types of conflict one may experience at work.

1.Task-based conflicts

This kind of conflict may occur in big projects where all the participants are interdependent. If someone is late with their reports, it affects someone else's performance and put deadlines in jeopardy, and it may serve as the start of a disagreement.

2. Leadership conflicts

The reactions to conflicts are always individual and depend on one’s personality. While one person may be warm, another may act very charismatically. It’s essential to adjust to each person’s interaction styles.

3. Workflow conflicts

Not everyone depends on the team. Some people perform better on their own, others need to be pushed, and still others need precise control to do their job. A person’s workflow style is as individual as their leadership style, and mutual understanding and respect apply here too. It’s worth considering that the team may do some work better together than could be done independently. That’s why we should accept our diversity and work together.

4. Personality-based conflicts

People and teams are diverse. We are not expected to like everyone we meet in life, but recognizing and accepting diversity is necessary. People often change and reconsider their priorities, so don’t make a permanent judgment about someone. There is also no point in judging people by their actions. You never know what this person was driven by when they cut you off on the highway or rushed to answer a phone call during your meeting. It might be a sick child or an important update that literally can’t wait.

5. Discrimination

Any harassment based on age, ethnicity, gender, or race might require that human resources get involved. The company shouldn’t ignore these things, and once they hire you, it means they are okay with who you are. If there are problems, it shows that management needs further work on acceptance and open-mindedness, at the very least. It’s vital to be able to coexist in society.

6. Idea conflict

Brainstorming is always a good practice, but group brainstorming is even better because it helps find the best solution. But we can’t always recognize the ideas of others and stick to our vision too. Flexibility and accepting the opinions of others are essential to avoid disagreements.

Any unresolved conflicts will lead to poor productivity, to say nothing of workplace morale. The environment becomes tense and passive-aggressive. Due to constant discomfort, the number of days off increases and results in poor team performance.

What should you do if you face a conflict situation at work?

To begin with, remember that you are not alone in solving the problem. You can always reach out to HR for support or your team lead. But before rushing to them, there are still some things you can do yourself.

1. Calm down.

Emotions are the worst advisor. Take some time to calm down and accept the existence of the problem. Think of what you can do about it for yourself before it’s too late. There are always two sides to every story, and it’s vital to figure out who is wrong.

2. Become an active listener.

Any dialogue without active listening won’t amount to much. There is no use ignoring a tense situation. It’s essential to talk with and understand each other, seeking compromise and solutions that work for both parties. Let’s face it: everyone likes to be heard.

3. Look at the situation from their point of view.

Try to take the other person's position; where is the point of disagreement? We are all empathetic and possess the ability to understand others; be sure to use it!

When should I speak to someone else about it?

Whether on-site or remote, any office is a meeting place for people with different backgrounds, priorities, and life stages. These differences are the reason for disagreements because we all see life from a personal perspective.

Managers are aware of conflict risks and are trained to handle them. They are ready to work with their employees’ concerns until they get too big. Here is the formula for building a healthy relationship with management:

mutual respect + fairness + trust = effective support

When you feel you can do nothing about the situation or start feeling desperate, you need to talk to your manager, since all workers should be treated equally.

What is the role of other employees and managers in the conflict?

When interpersonal issues remain unresolved, it hurts the workplace environment. The constant tension and stress turn a peaceful valley into a jungle full of predators. This is where HR comes in; it’s their job to smooth things over before things go too far. When facing absenteeism, rapid turnover, litigation, etc., the company stands to lose a lot of money. At the same time, employees are expected to work things out among themselves before involving their managers.

Conflicts are something anyone can experience. Harassment might occur at different levels, so it’s important to think about the potential pain points in your office environment every once in a while, since harassment might happen at different levels. Don’t be afraid to reconsider the situation and talk to the other parties involved. There’s no point in fearing asking for help, either, because all of us are equal, no matter our status.

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