Conflicts at work: the 4 most common

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Joe Dispenza

Conflicts at work: the 4 most common

Understanding the logic behind which conflicts at work are produced or not resolved will help us to manage them in the best possible way.

Last update: 14 September, 2022

When working side by side, one of the main challenges is to avoid conflicts, fights or confrontations of any kind. Clutches are especially normal when it is necessary to engage in teamwork to achieve multiple individual goals. But what are the most common workplace conflicts? We talk about it in this article.

Being able to solve, minimize or prevent them is a crucial skill if you want to work in a peaceful environment. Understanding the logic behind which conflicts at work are produced or not resolved will help us to manage them in the best possible way.

Conflicts at work: why do they arise?

As happens in most contexts, even in the workplace conflicts arise mainly due to differences of opinion and objectives, ways of doing work or thinking. When we are forced to collaborate with people who are very different from us, avoiding confrontations or competition becomes a challenge. 

In general, the four most common conflicts at work have the following origin:

  • Problems of interdependence.
  • Differences in the way of working.
  • Individual differences.
  • Leadership Problems.

Let's see them in detail.

1. Problems of interdependence

Interdependence is essential for the proper functioning of a work group. When a team shares the same goals, the work is easier if each member takes a collaborative attitude. In this way the goal is reached in a faster and easier way.

In real life, however, workgroups don't work that way. Lack of collaboration, fellow careerists or profiteers are the breeding ground for conflicts at work.

If you have identified a person who is not doing their job well due to an attitude problem, it will be good to talk to him, to make him understand that his work is important for the functioning of the group. It is an opportunity to analyze the situation together and be assertive.

2. Differences in the way of working

It may happen that all members of the group have a good attitude, but frictions or conflicts arise anyway. What happens in this case? One of the most logical explanations is that they have a different way of understanding work.

Some of us prefer to face matters calmly, to take care of the details; others, on the other hand, feel more comfortable doing the work quickly, not checking what has been done or leaving this task at the end. Both approaches are valid depending on the context, but confrontations are inevitable.

To prevent them, the ideal will be to establish, before starting a project, the way of working that you consider most appropriate. Putting the cards on the table right away certainly helps reduce conflicts.

3. Individual differences

Another common reason for conflicts at work is the difference in personalities, expectations, gender, age, lifestyle of the members of the group. It is certainly possible to work, and well, with people who are very different from us, but sometimes it becomes a challenge.

For example, in a group made up of people over 40 and children under 25, there will probably be problems related to the differences between the two generations.

Faced with a heterogeneous composition of the team, the key is communication. Although there are different ways of understanding life and work, we can put ourselves in someone else's shoes, learn to respect other points of view.

4. Leadership Issues

A final element that causes disharmony in the workplace is the lack of a clear or competent leader. When there is a lack of leadership in the group, it is easy to lose sight of goals and for members to feel frustrated and discontented.

Thankfully, leadership is a skill that can be learned. If you feel that the figure of the leader is not clear in the group, you can fill this role yourself or talk to a manager and explain the difficulties you are experiencing.

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