Conflicts can occur in any workplace, even those labeled “harmonious” and “happy” the majority of the time. Learning to resolve work environment issues helps maintain peaceful, productive premises, but can take time to master. Learning about real-life examples of workplace conflict can help speed up your “resolution education” and contribute to an even healthier work environment. Review classic conflict examples below to get started.
Workplace conflicts can occur for simple reasons, such as miscommunication. Perhaps one team member interpreted another’s meaning incorrectly, or someone did not explain a project completely. Tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language can also result in misinterpretation-related workplace conflicts, as can failing to listen or write emails in time. To help avoid miscommunication problems, ensure you say precisely what you mean to leave little room for misinterpretation.
You’ll want to speak clearly, loudly, and relatively slowly, since mumbling or talking quietly contributes to poor communication. Ensure you listen as well, and encourage active listening among team members. It also helps to stress the importance of “reaching out’” to your staff, whether to you or a fellow employee. Asking follow-up questions is key to preventing miscommunication issues.
Resistance to Change
Conflicts can arise because some of your team or fellow managers do not want things to change. A good real-life example of workplace conflict concerns relocating to a new office. While the relocation might suit some team members, it elicits complaints in others, such as those about the commute or the size and style of the new “digs.” Resistance to change can also occur because of unwanted rebranding efforts or new hires that make team members uncomfortable.
While resisting change is natural, it helps to explain the process in detail to your team. Go over why the change is necessary and what benefits it will provide, such as a larger office with a gym, kitchen, and meditation room. Ask your employees to offer feedback or what changes they would like to implement, as it helps them feel like they are part of the process.
Not-Great Work Habits
When you get a team of people together, it is unlikely that everyone’s work habits will mesh. Some employees learn and adapt quickly, while others struggle, causing tension. Still others simply have poor work habits that frustrate their ambitious, hard-working team members. They might always be late to work and leave early, have issues meeting deadlines, or spend more time gossiping than they do working.
You might need to place individuals who have poor work habits in different roles that suit their strengths. If doing so does not help, letting these individuals go might be your only option. You do not want to forsake a harmonious office environment because of one or two people who do not align with the brand’s values and work ethic.
While healthy competition in the workplace is usually a good thing because it inspires productivity, too much competition can prove detrimental. Dealing with one or several overly-competitive employees often results in arguments, gossip, and negative feelings. If competition among your team has become too intense, then put a halt on any ongoing contests. It allows everyone to calm down and cool off, which helps reduce feelings of resentment. Once you feel it is time for new contests, make them as fun or funny as possible, such as goofy photo caption or costume contests. If everyone is laughing, they will forget that they are competing.