top of page

How to Recognize Conflict In The Workplace And Manage It

Conflicts can occur in every other situation of life and the corporate environment is no different. Conflict is mainly the occurrence of differences between people’s perspectives which can lead to arousal of negative emotions such as tension and frustration. This is extremely damaging at the workplace for several different reasons, the main being that it can largely contribute to loss of efficiency. In this article, we will enlighten you about:

  • The most common reasons why conflicts occur so you are able to identify them

  • How one can understand conflict

  • How one can manage and mitigate or resolve conflict

There are multiple things that need to be understood before one steps in to resolve conflict. This is primarily because a lot of things that may seem like they might make things better are actually not the best strategies to use when dealing with conflict. They can often make matters even worse. If you want the answer to all the aforementioned questions, keep reading.

Causes of Conflict

There are several reasons why conflict can occur but we will tell you the most common ones. This is important to know because it will help you not only to recognize conflict, but also to know what you can do to avoid it.


This is one of the most prominent forces that lead to conflicts of many kinds. If the employees have to work as a unit, proper communication needs to be maintained not only amongst themselves but also between them and their superiors. Improper communication can easily lead to misunderstandings which can create a lot of tension in the workplace.

Inconsideration of Employers

Employers should be extremely careful about how they treat their employees. If they are inconsiderate to their needs, it may lead to conflict. They should know at which point the work they expect from their employees becomes unrealistic.

Friction Caused By Different Personalities

Conflict can also occur when people of the same teams have starkly opposite personalities. It can get hard for them to work together. For example, some people tend to be more dominating than others, if two or more people in a team possess these qualities it can lead to a lot of friction and disagreement.

Highly Competitive Environment

When the workplace is overly competitive, things can go south. This can make it extremely hard for people to actually be comfortable around and work in unity because they are always worried about doing and being the best.

Understanding Conflict

Conflict is feared by most people, because who doesn’t want smooth sailing? But unfortunately, it cannot always be avoided. Understanding and acknowledging conflict is important because it cannot magically disappear if you ignore it. It needs to be addressed properly without the assumption that it will resolve itself. You have to face it head-on with an open mind and confront the problem from every angle.

5 Ways To Manage Conflict

Resolving conflict is not very simple but with the following tips and tricks you will be able to overcome any and all unresolved tensions within your workplace.

1. Be Objective

Whenever you are putting yourself in the middle of a situation to solve a problem, try to be as objective as possible. It is best to disregard who the individuals are as well as what their background is, and only focus on the problem. Keep an open mind and hear all explanations before you try to find a solution.

2. Define Rules And Expectations

Misconduct can occur very easily when people have no idea what counts as “misconduct.” Written rules can help this problem because then people will know that they will be held accountable for their words and actions. Secondly, it is also good to clearly define what a job requires one to do. Job expectations should be known to the employee so that they don’t have to face added stress after they have already joined.

3. Communicate

This seems simple but conflicts are often a result of lack of communication or miscommunication. Leaders should encourage communication between all members of an organization to avoid the occurrence of conflicts. Whatever leads to confusion should be cleared immediately so that it does not lead to misunderstandings. In the same way, words should not be taken out of context. If someone hears something that may seem improper or causes confusion, they should confront the person who has said it rather than assuming the worst. If these confusions are not cleared up, it can lead to feelings of hostility which effect the environment of workplaces.

4. Be An Active Listener

This means that the problem should not just be disregarded. Each side needs to be heard and each perspective needs to be considered. Leaders should be actively listening rather than passively “hearing.” Get to the root of the problem; do not try to find superficial solutions which may make the matters worse. More importantly, respect everyone’s side of the story and try your best to understand it.

5. Help Employees Grow

See conflict as an opportunity to teach your employees how they can avoid it. Offer support and promote working in unity. Help them realize the need to respect each other irrespective of differences. It can also be a good opportunity to define certain boundaries that are to be maintained within the workplace.

Conflict occurs when people within an organization feel like they are not being heard, their needs aren’t being met, they are not being respected, they are not able to understand the task at hand and several other reasons. Conflict can create tension within the workplace and disrupt the flow and efficiency of those who are working. However, it can be overcome if everyone within an organization communicates effectively, actually listens to each other and knows what boundaries they should not cross. In addition, the people who are in charge of resolving problems and maintaining a professional work environment should be aware of conflict when it occurs, understand it and know how to manage it.


bottom of page