Is conflict overwhelming your business?

War in the workplace: 3 most common causes of conflict


When faced with an opportunity to put your conflict management skills and training into action, you may begin to wonder just what is causing tension in your workplace.

Understanding the reasons behind arguments and conflict is an important step in easing the hostility between colleagues. How can you expect to negotiate a truce without inside knowledge of the conflicting perceptions?

To help you recognise the type of tension hindering the professional relationships your workplace, here are the three most common causes of workplace conflict:

1. Clashing personalities

The larger and more diverse your team is, the more likely you are to experience conflict caused by personality differences. Through disagreements regarding religion, politics, culture and many other personal beliefs, conflict can range from mild annoyance to deep-seated offence.

While it can be difficult to avoid every conflict caused by this factor, leaders who promote a culture of acceptance and professionalism should be able to minimise interruptions to productivity.

2. Poor communication

In some cases, tempers can flare due to miscommunication or a lack of information. For example, if an employer wants a certain task to be completed by a deadline, but fails to communicate the time frame to the team, conflict occurs when the employer and employee disagree about whether the project is delivered late.

How do you avoid these types of arguments? It’s simple – communication. Having open and honest conversations with your team will ensure that you are all on the same page.

3. Competition

When employees feel like they need to compete with one another, tension can quickly boil over. While a reasonable amount of competition can be great for inspiring innovation and determination, too much can lead to conflict and hard feelings between team members.

Competitive employees need to be managed effectively to ensure they do not unintentionally turn hostile towards their colleagues.

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