Common Factors Affecting Conflict in the Workplace - Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

January 8, 2021by Vanessa Rose

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided or prevented where possible. Identifying the vulnerabilities that can increase the odds of conflict impacting your team can be immensely helpful in staying ahead of the circumstances that spark conflict. For those reasons, managers should familiarize themselves with some of the most common factors affecting conflict in the workplace so they can work with HR and their teams to manage them.

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Factors Affecting Conflict in the Workplace

There are many factors affecting conflict in the workplace and some of them may not be as intense as you would think. Indeed it is everyday things that can flare up drama if consistent or pervasive enough. Here are some examples:

Unrealistic Expectations

How often do you hear employees complain about their job ignoring their limited bandwidth and piling on more work anyway? This happens commonly because there are often pressures within the organization to produce as effectively as possible to save on necessary resources and generate profit. But just because the company may be stretched, doesn’t mean employees have unlimited resources. If managers really want to know how to solve conflicts at work, they may want to reduce additional stress for their employees where possible, which includes respecting limitations around bandwidth so that employees don’t begin to feel overwhelmed, resentful, and angry.

Poor Communication

Open pathways of feedback are important in business and can provide opportunities for conflict resolution processes in the workplace. This includes communication between collaborating colleagues, communication between employees and their managers, and communication between managers. Employers should be open to feedback from employees, especially in regard to burnout, tools they need to complete tasks, and any issues that may arise from an ineffective company culture.

Absentee Leadership

While most (if not all) employees would say they don’t prefer micromanagers, they will also tell you they still want leadership available. In addition to the basic needs of visible and active leadership, dealing with employee conflict can become much easier when the mediator – often the manager – has built rapport or a relationship with the employees involved. If an employer who is often MIA comes in only to handle issues of conflict, they may not be as effective at managing the situation and gaining buy-in from the impacted employees.

Unclear Job Roles

Job ambiguity has long been a leading cause of work stress making it one of the more important factors affecting conflict in the workplace. When employees take on multiple roles by virtue of business changes, or when expectations are not communicated clearly, employees can become stressed and overwhelmed more easily. They may not know if they’re doing enough, when they should outsource or ask for help, or what the consequences may be if they don’t live up to the task. These uncertainties are easily avoided and can reduce employee vulnerability.

To get support proactively managing factors affecting conflict in the workplace, contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today. Get the right solutions for your team from the professionals who understand how to turn conflict into strength.

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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