Why Ignoring Conflict Within the Workplace is So Detrimental

Published: October 17, 2022 | Last Updated: December 4, 2023by Kent McGroarty

Conflict within the workplace is common due to factors such as clashing personalities and work ethics. And while dealing with work environment conflicts is never pleasant, allowing them to remain unresolved is much worse. To help you maintain a harmonious workplace, learn what makes ignoring issues so harmful.

Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict

It Breeds Tension & Resentment

When conflicts go “unnoticed,” they typically cause tension within the workplace to increase. Employees wonder what’s going on, why the issue isn’t getting the attention it deserves, and whether it will ever be addressed. Resentment builds as a result, because team members feel ignored and undervalued. If tension and resentment are allowed to increase, the entire workplace can become unpleasant and employees might dread going to work. By taking care of issues promptly and effectively, you’ll maintain a healthy work environment. Everyone will be in better moods and more welcoming to new hires.

It Can Turn Civil Work Relationships Into Poor, if Not Terrible, Relationships

Say a conflict between two employees goes unresolved. The employees are not friends in the workplace or outside of the office, but have maintained a civil, professional relationship thus far. Ignoring the conflict can cause the professional relationship between these individuals to break down, resulting in workplace tension and productivity issues. For example, the team members might refuse to work together or take every opportunity to undermine each other during meetings. They might “badmouth” each other outside of work and allow gossip about one another to spread. Since drama is not welcome in any professional work environment, allowing this or similar relationships to deteriorate does nothing for employee morale.

Resolving the conflict before it causes further strife between the employees in question helps them maintain the professional relationship they have created.

It Affects Productivity

Conflicts within the workplace are distracting. They prevent team members from focusing on what they are there to do–their jobs–and encourages them to talk about the issue(s) in house. What’s more, if one or more team members are extremely upset about the unresolved conflict, they might think of it instead of doing their work. Rather than allowing productivity and possibly your bottom line to suffer, tackle issues straight on so they can be resolved and everyone can get back to their assignments and projects. You don’t want to explain to the company’s owner or board members that productivity has slipped because employees are tense, distracted, and upset.

It Can Increase Turnover Rates

Dealing with workplace tension every day from unresolved conflicts makes employees less enthusiastic about their jobs. Conflict within the workplace can eventually cause team members to look elsewhere for work. If the issues remain ignored, attracting new hires becomes challenging, because word spreads that your workplace is a tense environment full of unhappy employees. Even if new people are hired, they might quit within a week or two because of the bad energy circulating through the office or other work environment. High turnover rates can also occur because current employees tell them what an awful place it is to work.

Resolving conflicts immediately helps keep turnover rates low, because employees will want to stay in their jobs. In the event of bringing on more talent, you’ll avoid unsolved conflict-related reputation issues that dissuade potential hires.

Wrapping Up

Conflict within the workplace is inevitable, but that does not mean that issues have to fester. Taking initiative regarding any conflict makes it clear that you value your team and their peace of mind. It also shows that you want them to like their jobs and enjoy the work they do.

For more about conflict resolution, please contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today!


Avatar for Kent McGroarty

Kent McGroarty