5 Common Causes Of Conflict In The Workplace


What Causes Conflict In The Workplace

We are all humans. And we’re bound to butt heads with each other occasionally! But in the workplace, we must take a unique approach to conflict. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Poor communication often leads to feelings of isolation and disconnection and is a breeding ground for employee conflict
  2. Different values and personalities can also lead to workplace disputes
  3. We like to be comfortable. Resistance to change can often lead to workplace conflict
  4. A lack of workplace resources and competition to obtain those limited resources can sometimes spark workplace altercations
  5. Employees work better together when they’re happy and content. Toxic work environments can be a great contributor to conflict in the workplace

To fully understand how to handle workplace conflict, we must know what causes it. Keep reading, and we’ll let you know the five leading causes of workplace conflict.

See Related: Top 5 Professional Goals For The Workplace In 2023

#1. Poor Communication

We hear this word a lot. From the workplace to personal relationships, communication is vital.

And so, if communication falls apart, it’s easy for interpersonal conflict and misunderstandings to arise. Plus, improper communication can lead to negative consequences like the spread of workplace gossip or disagreement.

Communication is a multi-way street. Employees need to communicate with each other, and workplace leaders need to maintain transparency. If employees are not receiving clear and accurate information from their superiors, they might make false assumptions about work responsibilities.

Poor communication can even lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. We are all humans, and when we don’t take the time to try to understand each other, it’s easy for conflict to arise.

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What Great Communication Can Do For Your Workplace

It’s essential to work through personality clashes and find common ground through different backgrounds to avoid conflict. It’s about more than sending emails or making small talk.

To truly work on avoiding conflict in the corporate workplace, you need to prioritize honest, open, and constructive communication and feedback. We all have a role to play and we must be active in it!

Because when we focus on effective communication and open feedback, it can significantly improve company culture and the work environment itself. Healthy communication is needed for things like:

  • Fostering mutual respect between parties
  • Ensuring employees are fully aware of job responsibilities
  • Helping people feel connected and accountable

Excellent communication isn’t just fantastic for reducing workplace conflict. It’s also essential for boosting productivity, increasing employee engagement, and improving workplace morale.

The benefits of communication are endless, so focus on it!

#2. Personality Clashes

We’re all different. That much is always a given.

We come from diverse backgrounds and hold different workplace values. What matters to some might not be that critical to others.

So in a world full of unique individuals, it’s natural that these differences might lead to conflict. Clashing personalities can sometimes lead to workplace disagreement, which can be hard to resolve at times.

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Managing Different Personalities In The Workplace

We don’t have to become friends with everyone we meet. And we certainly don’t need to force ourselves or our coworkers to be more than just colleagues.

But that doesn’t mean that your employees can’t work well together. In fact, a diverse workplace is important for organizational growth and innovation.

So while personality differences can sometimes contribute to workplace conflict, it is usually a good thing! All you need to do is prioritize effective communication and respect. That way, you can improve workplace collaboration and teamwork without letting superficial differences get the best of your employees.

Bonus: 5 Steps To Becoming An Event Planner

#3. Resistance To Change And Unwillingness To Try New Things

Even if we think we are great at it, it can be hard to accept change sometimes. We like to be comfortable. And especially when we feel like we thrive in a specific corporate environment, opening up to something new can be seemingly devasting.

At the root of our fear of change is our fear of the unknown and uncertainty over what might happen.

Because at work, our employees might always imagine the worst. And in a worst-case scenario, a significant change that’s always dreaded is a job loss.

Organizations sometimes don’t know how to implement change properly. So when it is initiated, employees fail to readily accept it and start to push back.

Managing Changes To Avoid Workplace Conflicts

It’s up to management and workplace leaders to find effective ways to instigate workplace changes without making employees feel uncomfortable or uneasy.

When employees aren’t ready for a change in the workplace, it can inevitably lead to workplace conflict. But keep in mind that conflict management is also about preventing conflict.

So if you know a significant change is coming, don’t keep your team in the dark! Instead, be transparent, and maintain communication.

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#4. A Lack Of Workplace Resources

Unfortunately, not all companies have infinite budgets to buy their employees all the supplies and software they want. So sometimes, employees need to make do with scarce resources.

This can lead to employees needing to compete for the resources that are available. Usually, this can be a more undercover type of competition, where it’s more like people rushing to get to something first.

Either way, when employees feel like they need to compete or rush to get tools and resources to do their job more effectively or efficiently, it’s easy for conflict to arise.

This can also make team members feel like managers are only setting them up to fail. And obviously, this isn’t a good feeling around the office.

Regardless, prioritizing a feeling of unity, connectivity, and resourcefulness is critical to ensure that your workplace can still run happily and effectively, no matter how many resources you have.

#5. Toxic Work Environment

Our team spends a great deal of time at the workplace. And when they don’t feel happy or fulfilled with where they are, it’s easy for resentment and harsh feelings to breed.

Positive work culture is critical to maintaining collaboration and improving employee morale. Without it, it’s inevitable that workplace conflicts will arise and cause some trouble.

A lot goes into growing a healthy and positive work environment. It takes trust, respect, and support to guide our team toward this path. Without a positive and uplifting atmosphere and culture, the entire team and organization will suffer.

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A Fantastic Way To Reduce Workplace Conflict

When managing conflict, hosting a company event is a great place to start.

Company events with a great opening speaker can help unite your team, inspire laughter, and show them that you’re on their side! And with a comedic keynote speaker from Clean Comedians®, your entire organizational culture can be revamped in just one night.

That’s because our speakers know precisely how to get the audience laughing. We steer clear of dirty, crude, or divisive content (you know, the kind of content that brings about conflict) and instead go for genuinely hilarious jokes that bring the entire team together.

Conflict is inevitable. But it doesn’t need to be impossible to manage!

Keep Reading: 4 Reasons Why Trust In The Workplace Matters

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.