Handling 6 Common Workplace Conflicts Effectively

The workplace is a dynamic environment where people of different personalities, backgrounds and cultures come together to achieve different goals. Here are six types of common workplace conflicts, along with strategies for how to deal with them.

6 Types Of Common Workplace Conflicts And How To Deal With Each Of Them

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship – from friends, to family, to coworkers. And conflict can stem from any number of things: differing opinions, values, goals, styles and more. We all have been in a situation where honest communication turned into heated disagreement rather quickly. 

But it doesn't necessarily have to be this way. 

Conflicts at work are bound to occur. It's not a matter of if, but when. And while it's important to know how to handle conflict in the workplace, it's equally vital to understand what types of conflicts you may encounter and how to deal with each one.

Conflict resolution strategies and techniques can provide the tools needed to turn conflict into a positive experience for all involved. Managers or leaders who are able to effectively manage conflict are better equipped to lead teams who work well together. 

6 Common Workplace Conflicts And Tips To Resolve Each Of Them.

1. Conflicts Between Peers

Conflicts between peers are often caused by a clash of personalities, or an innate need to be right. This is one of the most common types of workplace conflict — especially when there are only two people working together on a project or task. The feud can range from minor disagreements over trivial matters all the way up to full-blown arguments over deeply rooted differences in personality and work style.

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

 The first step to resolve this type of conflict is to recognize what type of dispute you're dealing with — whether it's just a minor disagreement over something irrelevant or something deeper like differing personalities or communication styles. Be open and listen to the feelings of both parties, and try to compromise on an issue that both sides can agree on. 

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2. Conflicts Between Superiors And Subordinates

If you’re a manager or supervisor, your employees are likely to have different opinions about how things should be done. This is not necessarily a bad thing until it comes time to implement your vision. In this case, you need to make sure that everyone is on board with the plan before moving forward with it. If they aren’t, you may want to explain your vision and organizational goals and make sure everyone understands the vision and is aligned to it. Doing it this way won’t cause as much stress in your team..

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

If you feel like there's a conflict brewing at work, try approaching the situation calmly, and consider these steps:

1)  Talk with the other party privately about the issue. Do not use harsh or negative language about the problem — even if it seems justified at the time. Instead, calmly explain why you feel an action is wrong or unfair, and listen carefully to what they have to say in response.

2)  If nothing changes after this conversation, bring it up again later with someone else who might be able to help resolve the situation more quickly than you could on your own (perhaps someone higher up in authority).

3. Conflicts Caused By Different Workstyles

This type of workplace conflicts can be caused by a number of factors, two major reasons are:

  • Incompatibility between personalities. For example, one person is more extroverted while another is more introverted ; or one person is highly organized and other is


  • Disagreement over work ethics or professional conduct. For example, one employee may think that they should be working longer hours while their colleague feels that they are already working too much overtime.

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

It's important to understand that conflicts of this type are not always something that can be changed overnight. However, there are ways to adapt so that both parties can be more productive at work. If you think someone’s style of working may be contributing to the problem, try changing things up by talking to them! Understand and address the differences and try to find ways they can work together. For example, if your colleague wants to spend more time on one project than another, ask how others in that project can help him or her reach his or her goals without compromising theirs.

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4. Conflicts Caused By Poor Communication Between Departments Or Teams

Communication is key to maintaining all the teams  together like a well oiled machine— but what happens when there's a lack of communication? 

When there is a lack of communication between departments or teams within an organization, it can lead to misunderstandings and conflict among coworkers who are supposed to work together for the same goal.

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

The best way to resolve this issue is by having honest conversations with your coworkers about expectations so that both parties are on the same level. Encourage them to communicate more often – meet their colleagues regularly or send emails to update them on what they are doing and ask them about their progress as well. Get them to focus on resolving issues instead of blaming each other; this way they will learn more about each other’s work processes which will help them work together better in future projects.

Pro tip: You can also make use of team building activities to improve the communication and bonding between colleagues.

5. Conflicts Caused By Cultural Differences

People from different cultures often have clashes. This can be caused by language barriers, and cultural differences. Cultural differences can cause conflict because they lead people to interpret situations differently.  It's not easy for people from different cultures to understand each other.

"Cultural differences are real, they exist between regions, between nations, between ethnic groups and even within families." says Dr. Ellen Jovin, a psychologist who specializes in workplace issues and author of "The Culture Map." 

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

The best thing to do is to be patient and try to understand the point of view of both the parties. Make sure every colleague respects each other’s values. Try to open up the lines of communication and make the other person feel comfortable around their colleagues. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to talk about their problems openly without feeling judged or ridiculed for it!

Remember, you need time to resolve this type of conflict, but if you can overcome the cultural difference between colleagues and get them to bond better, it will pay off in the form of increased productivity and collaboration,

6. Conflicts Caused By Workload

This is one of the most common sources of conflict between employees — especially when there are multiple employees handling similar types of tasks at once.

 "The best way to handle this type of situation is by taking an honest look at your workload," says Lori-Lynn Marker-Merritt, president of executive search firm MKM Partners Inc., based in New York City. 

How Can Managers Resolve This Type Of Conflict?

 In these situations, it's easy to resolve early with a simple conversation or meeting rather than let things fester until it becomes a serious issue. And make sure you address the major issues that are creating workload conflicts. 

  • Help your employees be realistic about what they can accomplish in a day and set realistic goals. 
  • Get them to understand where their weaknesses lie and encourage them to ask for help with those tasks that they cannot realistically handle themselves.



Whether you're in a small business or a large corporation, workplace conflicts will always be a problem. While some can be easily resolved with careful analysis and communication, others may escalade into anger and frustration. However, knowing the right conflict resolution techniques and strategies to deal with workplace conflicts always helps. But if leaders like you are willing to understand the issues at a deeper level with more empathy towards every employee, you can avoid most of these problems before they even occur.

Hope these conflict resolution techniques can help build strong relationships within a team.

Bonus: Making regular team building activities part of your work culture is one of the greatest ways to strengthen team bonds among employees and avoid conflicts . Partner with us to unleash the fullest potential of your team with the help of fun and engaging experiences 
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