Common Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

The key to a harmonious workplace is the common goal of a job well done. However, in the real world, there are a host of common sources that can lead to conflict.

This is especially true when teams are brought together from different companies, or individuals from different departments. Conflict can also arise because of personality differences, and even when everyone is on the same page.

To be successful in the workplace, you need to be able to recognise conflict situations and avoid them, as well as be able to work through them constructively if they arise. A healthy conflict resolution process is the cornerstone of a happy, productive workplace.

If you have ever worked at a company where people had some trouble getting along, you know that workplace conflict is one of the leading causes of loss of productivity. It can also lead to negative attitudes and poor customer service, both of which are critical to running a business.

Here are some of the common causes of workplace conflict:


Even though you may have very similar backgrounds and work with a large number of people, you may not have a lot in common. This may be because of differences in personality, values, or philosophy, or differences in how people were raised.

It’s not only a problem for teams from different companies that can have a difficult time getting along.

People often have difficulty when they interact with people who are different from themselves, and this can cause friction even when both parties are working on a team project together.

Conflict can also result from personality differences between management and hourly employees. For example, if your boss is outgoing and social, you are more reserved and reserved, whereas if your manager is quiet and not social, you can be talkative and outgoing.

Sometimes, these differences can be worked through, but they also may cause people to be suspicious of each other and not get along.

The best way to avoid this type of conflict is to be aware of your own personality and values, and be careful in choosing who you work with. Be open to learning about the personality and values of other people in the company and take advantage of opportunities to improve communication between you and others.


Friction can also arise from the people in the company who have dysfunction in their lives. Sometimes a dysfunctional person will be a part of a team, and when he or she is on the team, the dysfunction can spill over into conflict.

Dysfunction in the workplace can come from a variety of sources. For example, if you work for a boss who is emotionally distant or a coworker who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Often, dysfunction is not readily apparent to people, but it is still there, and that makes it difficult to get along. If you notice someone who is becoming increasingly difficult to work with, you need to speak up and deal with it early on. You will avoid a lot of frustration and wasted time.

Poor Performance

When people perform poorly at work, it is especially likely that there will be conflict. If you are a part of a team that has problems, you might be tempted to give up and not contribute, but you should hold out for the day when you will be able to have a good team.

Sometimes, people get assigned to a team that is a group of people who are not good at their job. When people perform poorly and don’t do their jobs properly, it is extremely frustrating and can lead to conflict.

If you are on a team that is having problems, it is best to work on finding a way to move to a team that is working well.

Poor Job Performance

Even when a team performs well at work, there are always occasional people who perform poorly. As a leader, you need to be able to deal with people who perform poorly. There is nothing that can replace the importance of a good manager.

Although it may seem easier to blame someone else for the team’s problems, this is rarely the case.

No one is perfect. Even if there is a person on the team who is not doing their job correctly, the team will be able to make a change.

It is difficult to be a leader who has to constantly clean up after people who are not doing their job correctly. There is no reason to make the people who are responsible for the mess feel bad about themselves or feel as though they are doing something wrong.

If you see someone who is not doing their job correctly, you need to bring it to their attention. While you might be tempted to look for someone else to blame for the problem, this is not the way to handle it.

Team Friction

Even though you may be a part of a team that is good at performing their work, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain a smooth team. There are many reasons for this.

If the team is working together, but there is no team spirit, it can be difficult to get along. When team spirit is missing, people will be unhappy, which can lead to conflict.

The team needs to work together in the same direction, and this can be difficult when there are different ideas about what should be done, or different styles of dealing with problems. You need to have an open dialogue about these issues so that they can be resolved.

The main goal is to make sure that the team is working together to achieve a common goal. Even though you can be a part of a team, you need to still focus on getting the job done.

Poor Communication

One of the major causes of workplace conflict is poor communication. In the real world, conflict is inevitable because people communicate in different ways.

For example, some people speak at a rapid-fire pace, and they do not use a lot of “ums” and “ahs.” Other people speak very slowly, and use words like “you know,” and “I mean,” which make them sound as if they are getting a lot of words out.

People who talk at different speeds can have difficulty understanding each other, and misunderstand what is being said. This type of problem leads to frustration, and will also affect how the team works together.

You can be part of a team that is working well, and still have issues with poor communication. In some cases, poor communication is a sign that there is a lack of trust. People are not willing to speak up when they have issues, so they try to get through a problem without telling anyone.

Even if you have good communication skills, it is important that you make an effort to learn about the communication style of the people in the company. You can do this through observation, asking, or by getting advice from someone who knows both of you.

Lack of Focus

When people are not focused on the task at hand, and are busy doing a number of different things, it is very difficult to maintain a proper focus.

When you are working on a project that is important to you, it is crucial to be able to concentrate and maintain focus. It is very difficult to work on a project when you are distracted by something else.

People who are unfocused will work on a project or will start a project, and then switch their attention to something else. This can mean that the team starts working on a project that is not important, or there can be someone who is not focusing on the project.

If you are a leader in the workplace, you need to make sure that you are focused on the things that are most important. In the beginning of a project, it is critical that you stay focused on the main point. It is not a good time to start off by taking shortcuts, or you will be setting the team up for problems down the road.

The only way to be successful in the workplace is to keep focused on what needs to be done.

Incompetent Leadership

Another cause of workplace conflict is when the people in the company are not getting what they need from their leaders. When this happens, it can cause tension in the workplace.

Incompetent leadership can cause frustration and anger. People who are not getting what they need may feel as though they are not getting anywhere in the company.

Incompetent leaders are also more likely to take shortcuts, and they will not be able to provide the support and guidance that is needed to move the team forward.

You can’t force people to become more competent, but you do need to learn how to lead in a way that helps to get the best results out of the team.

If you have been working at a company that has incompetent leaders, it may be hard to see how the leader is a part of the problem. You have to look at the results to see who is responsible for the problem.

Leadership is a process, and you can’t teach it overnight. If you have been working at a company where people are unhappy and are having problems, you need to be able to recognise when the leadership needs to change.

The key takeaways

  • Understanding what causes conflict in the workplace is the first step to prevent it from happening to your team. Conflict can stem from miscommunication. Tensions may arise when team members have clashing personalities, work styles, needs, interests, or values.
  • Also, ambiguous work roles, expectations, and procedures can leave room for arguments— and unmanaged performance issues can create resentment for the rest of the team.
  • Do your best to get ahead of conflict and equip your team with the tools and environment they need to effectively navigate or avoid these situations. Or, if you notice the signs of team conflict, diagnose the problem first before deciding on the best way to fix it.
  • Don’t ignore conflict or allow it to fester. Instead, address conflict promptly and directly.
  • Encourage your team to confront conflict and develop strategies to deal with it effectively.
  • Allow people to express issues if they have them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: