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Different Types of Conflict in The Workplace & How to Manage

Different Types of Conflict in The Workplace & How to Manage

|Aug 30, 2022

There are numerous challenges that one comes across in the workplace. From employees to employers, each has its share of tough times managing work and maintaining the various etiquettes of a workplace. While we all wish to avoid any conflict in the workplace truly, not addressing what bothers you or ignoring it at most will only result in frustration and deterioration of mental health.

This is extremely harmful to the organization's goal of success and the wellness of employees. Not resolving conflicts in the workplace can affect productivity improvements, develop anxiety in work performance and ruin the organization's image in front of others. Thus, the question arises of how to handle conflict in the workplace in a way that doesn't affect anyone's morale nor damages the organization's work environment. Hence it is important to learn about the types of conflicts that can happen in the workplace and use effective strategies for resolving workplace conflict.

Types of Conflicts in the Workplace

Learning the different types of conflict in the workplace helps realize the root cause of the issue, eliminate it from the core, and develop the needful strategies to manage it effectively. Particularly there are four common types of workplace conflicts which include task conflict, relationship conflict, leadership conflict, and value conflict.

Task Conflict

Task conflict in the workplace

The first of the three types of workplace conflict is task conflict, which frequently involves specific issues relating to employees' work assignments. Task conflict can also involve disagreements over allocating resources, practices, and policies, managing employee expectations, and assessing and interpreting the truth.

Task conflict might seem the easiest of the three forms of conflict covered here to resolve. However, task conflict frequently proves to be more complicated and rooted in deeper issues than it initially appears to be. It can also lead to long-term animosity among employees who felt they were not catered for when an argument arose.

Relationship Conflict

The second type of workplace conflict is relationship conflict. This is mainly the conflict that occurs in relationships formed between employees. This type of conflict is highly inevitable because, in a workplace, you will always meet people with different Morales, personalities, values, and aims. In relationship conflicts, it is best to realize that each employee in your organization finds it hard to adjust and blend in with people with different backgrounds, childhoods, and ethnicities. Hence, relationship conflict resolution needs a bit of understanding and compromise for both ends so the results can be useful and help employees realize they need to work together as a team.

Value Conflict

Value conflict in the workplace

Fundamental differences in identities and values, such as those relating to politics, religion, ethics, norms, and other profoundly held ideas, can lead to value conflicts. Although discussing politics and religion in the workplace is frequently frowned upon, conflicts over moral principles can still arise when dealing with work-related decisions and policies, such as whether to implement an affirmative action program or accept a client with connections to a corrupt government.

Leadership Conflict

Each person has a unique leadership style, and each person responds to those leadership styles differently. Some leaders are bold and charismatic, while others are more approachable, friendly, and relaxed. While some are so hands-off that you rarely notice them, others are highly technical and rigid about regulations and deadlines.

It would help if you emphasized respecting one another's differences inside the workplace to prevent potential disputes. The leadership styles they employ and how they engage with their team members' personalities and work styles should also be known to them. Regardless of their preferred leadership styles, they should be able to adapt and connect with their staff.

How To Resolve Conflict in The Workplace

In the workplace, it always seems like one thing or another is taking a toll on your mental health. Whether you are struggling with work or not having the best time with an employee, not performing at your pace, not finding workload humane, or even upset about the loss of work-life balance due to the burden of work. Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable, and no organization runs smoothly without any challenge. Hence, the only viable solution is to learn about managing conflict in the workplace effectively. Below are some tips for managing different types of conflict in the workplace.

Identify Source of Conflict

Identify Source of Conflict

Clarifying the source of a disagreement is the first step towards its resolution. You'll be able to comprehend how the problem first arose by defining the conflict's root cause. Additionally, you will be able to persuade both parties to agree on the nature of the conflict. And to do that, you must talk about the needs that aren't being served on all sides of the debate. You should ensure that everyone understands one another. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the perspectives of each side.

Improving Communication

Though targeted conflict resolution methods can be used to address workplace issues one by one, some methods, when applied, can avoid problems altogether. The first step in improving the workplace environment is to encourage communication. Open communication and the ability to empathize can help resolve many issues and is also the best solution for employee wellness.

When employees feel heard, they are happier and more productive. Hence it is vital to imply effective channels and communication skills for conflict resolution.

Leadership Style

Leadership Style

If we talk about leadership conflict, a tough or rude manager will only build tension, stress, and hatred in employees. While it is important to be a bit stern with goals and deadlines for employees to be disciplined, a manager's communication skills play a vital role in boosting employees' morale and motivation to work.


If employees feel burdened with most of the work while their teammates enjoy and relax, it is only genuine for them to feel angry and flustered. This is why it is often asked why teamwork is important in a workplace. Teamwork can help each employee feel relaxed while also giving their best. It can help achieve tough goals and meet challenges. When employees work in teams, they can cover up for each other's shortcomings and get to work with each other while developing a healthy relationship, which is useful for resolving value conflict.

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