5 Types of Workplace Conflicts & How to Resolve Them
Conflict is inevitable in any workplace because no two people think and act exactly the same. There might be differences and disagreements between colleagues, and if not solved properly, may lead to problems in collaboration and performance. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 common types of workplace conflicts and provide steps to help you handle them smoothly.
5 Common Types of Workplace Conflicts
1. Leadership Conflicts
Leaders are usually people who would intervene in workplace conflicts between employees. But what if the leaders themselves are the center and the cause of such drama? In fact, leadership conflicts are listed as one of the most popular types of workplace conflicts.
Each leader has different leadership styles and management styles. And each employee responds to those styles in different ways. This can result in conflicts between managers of different teams, or conflicts between leaders and team members.
To prevent this from happening, you need to establish and strengthen mutual respect within the workplace. Be aware that everybody has a different working style, and adjust your management accordingly. Communicate clearly the differences to find out the common voice for everyone.
2. Creative Conflicts
While working in groups, conflicts regarding creativity and ideas are much likely to happen. Employees may come up with different ideas and have different reactions towards those ideas, which can lead to quarrels and competition.
Though dealing with ideas that are totally different or contradict yours is difficult, it can give the best solutions for your business.
Once again, it’s important to build mutual respect within the team. Make sure everyone listens and comments on others’ ideas without being rude or disrespectful. This will help employees look at each idea from multiple perspectives, and select the best ideas for any project that they’re working on.
3. Work Style Conflicts
Employees can quarrel when they don’t share similarities in how they work. We have different approaches to do things, and this will of course lead to conflicts.
Many people prefer to work alone and according to their own speed, knowledge, and skills. Others enjoy working in groups, giving their opinions, and collaborating with teammates. Some wait until the deadline to finish their work, while others submit their tasks early.
Between two employees who are too different in how they work, it’s necessary to have a mediator who can reconcile and find out what works best for both sides.
Tell your staff that everyone enjoys a different working style, but the coordination between team members should be the priority. Encourage staff to learn to deal with each other’s differences and be cooperative for the success of the task.
4. Personality Conflicts
It’s obvious that people are different from each other. And we’re not going to get along with anyone we meet. We may run into someone whose personality clashes with us, and conflicts are much likely to happen.
Differences in perceptions and behaviors, underpinned by culture, religion, background, will also lead to differences in the way we see and behave towards other people.
As a leader, you need to acquire strong mediation skills to understand each employee and give them advice. Then, convince them that each of us has different backgrounds and it’s important that they maintain respect and empathy for each other. That way, it can lead to good cooperation in a team.
In the long term, it’s important to set clear policies about conflict resolution and behavioral guidelines. Make sure all your employees know and understand the policies well. Training sessions about workplace diversity and emotional control are also a good idea to reduce personality-based conflicts in your business.
5. Task-Based Conflicts
There are many reasons for task-based conflicts. It could be a lack of coordination while working together, or someone delaying work, or ineffective communication leading to poor performance.
This not only affects the job but also can lead to more serious consequences, especially on the progress and success of the team.
It’s important as a leader that you delegate tasks properly to everyone, and clarify their responsibilities in advance. By doing this, your employees will be aware of what’s expected of them, who they’re working with, and the importance of collaboration in completing the task.
4 Steps to Tackle Workplace Conflicts
1. Find the Cause of Workplace Conflicts
You won’t be able to solve the problem if you don’t know what is causing the problem. When resolving a conflict, it’s necessary to find the real reason behind it.
Schedule one-on-one conversations with each employee to find out about their problems and dissatisfaction. Make sure you choose a quiet and private location so that nothing can interrupt the conversations.
Your staff should feel free to speak out their thoughts and opinions. You can listen to both sides of the conflict and allow each side to clarify their perspectives. Make sure to actively listen so that nothing is misinterpreted or overheard as your key purpose is to find out the cause.
2. Understand the Conflicts Thoroughly
You need to put yourself in the shoes of your employees to understand their point of view and the problems they are facing. No one wants to get involved in conflicts.
Once you have grasped the reasons for the conflict in the group, evaluate carefully to make sure that everything you understand is true, and not biased. Only then can you solve the problem in the fairest way.
3. Resolve Conflicts
Have a meeting with the people involved in the conflict to resolve it. Ask everyone to discuss and choose the best resolutions for everyone. This way people are more responsible for dealing with their own disputes.
Moreover, you should remember that time doesn’t allow managers to waste focusing solely on conflict resolution. So, it’s also necessary to put out a zero-tolerance policy regarding certain behaviors and hold everyone to that standard.
In the long run, it’s also vital to establish policies regarding disputes, behaviors, and respect in the workplace to avoid conflicts in the future.
4. After the Resolution
Once the workplace conflicts are solved, ask your employees to show dedication towards the common goal. Be clear with each member about the importance of cooperation and mutual respect in teamwork.
Emphasize the role of unity in achieving success. Encourage your employees to focus on their work and be cooperative while collaborating together.
Conflict is a part of life and it can actually push people to be more positive and creative. However, for maximum productivity, you want to have a harmonious workplace.
So knowing how to solve the most common types of workplace conflicts can be an important skill for business owners. To set your business up for success, simply keep your ear to the ground and solve any conflicts that may arise in a calm manner.