3 Examples of Conflict in the Workplace Scenarios

January 13, 2022by Valerie Dansereau0

In any work environment, there are usually many different working styles and personalities which means there is a pretty good chance that conflict in the workplace is going to happen sooner or later. Finding a way to manage the different types of conflict that arise is imperative as a way to build stronger teams and lay the groundwork for a more peaceful work environment going forward. Here are a few examples of conflict in the workplace scenarios.

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Scenario 1: Personality Clash

Coworkers can find themselves in the middle of workplace conflict because of a personality clash. Different people see the world from completely different perspectives, and a personality clash can happen simply because of conflicting approaches to work, different cultural backgrounds or a variety of other reasons. Personality clashes can be challenging to deal with because many times there is not a specific problem that is triggering the clash.

When there is a personality clash in the workplace, it must be dealt with, or workers end up feeling trapped in a hostile and tense working environment. If different personalities are creating tension and discomfort, management must step in and find a way to mediate. Pay attention to both sides and handle the situation quickly so it does not continue to worsen.

Scenario 2: Failure to Communicate

Failure to communicate clearly is one of the most common reasons that there is conflict in the workplace. When instructions for a project or assignment are not clearly communicated, it can lead to too much time spent focusing on the wrong things. The result is tension and loss of productivity.  Another example of failing to communicate is when one employee is making a comment that another takes the wrong way.

Resolving conflict caused by failure to communicate depends on having both parties express what might have been done differently. It is important to look at the situation and determine exactly what happened and why, and how failure to communicate can be prevented in the future. Managers need to set clear expectations for communication going forward and clarify what is expected from each employee in their role. All parties involved should practice active listening to make sure they are listening and understanding each other.

Scenario 3: Conflict with Management Style

Managers lead in different ways and different people are comfortable with different management styles. Some managers are authoritarian while others are more permissive. An employee that likes frequent interaction with their manager isn’t going to be comfortable with a hands-off approach. Managers may set elaborate goals for a staff member without considering whether the employee may be overwhelmed.

Effective managers can connect with employees regardless of their preference of management style. Setting up weekly or biweekly one-on-one meetings gives employees an opportunity to voice their concerns. Frequent meetings also help to make sure the manager is aware of potential dissatisfaction or conflict so they can work together toward a mutually agreeable solution.

Managing Conflict at Work

No matter what’s behind conflict in a work setting, managers must take immediate action to resolve conflict in the workplace to prevent letting disagreements escalate. Unresolved conflicts at work can lead to reduced productivity and staff members using sick time to avoid going to work.

Discussions should stay positive and not focus on trying to place blame. Keeping negative emotions under control can keep conversations calm and productive rather than allowing problems to intensify.

Recognizing situations that resemble these examples of conflict in the workplace scenarios can help managers and team members get started working toward an agreeable solution. For expert support and guidance managing conflict at work, contact Pollack Peacebuilding today!

Valerie Dansereau

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