15 Common Causes That Creates Conflicts at Workplace

Just graduated from college and entering professional life with big dreams? A number of challenges await you at workplace and one of them is workplace conflicts. Whether it is your first job or you have experienced it before, workplace conflicts can put you off in more than one way. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Unfortunately, workplace conflicts have become so common that it has become a part of your professional life.

In fact, the way you deal with these workplace conflicts will determine your success and failure at work. It is very important for the management to take notice of these issues and take concrete steps to maintain a healthy working environment. Turning a blind eye to workplace conflicts will make matters worse, as the problem might get out of hand, if not dealt with in a timely fashion.

In this article, we will analyze the common causes of workplace conflicts and show you how to overcome them before they can affect you in a negative way.

1. Personality Differences

Have you ever wondered why you get along so well with people with matching personality but not so much with people with differing personalities? Personality differences can lead to conflicts not only in your personal life but also in your professional life. Things can get messy when these conflicting employee personalities collide with each other.

The best way to deal with this situation is to consider the nature of your existing team when hiring new employees. Try to find individuals that have something in common and offer you the perfect blend. Do not let personality differences damage overall workplace environment.

2. Poor Communication

Workplace conflicts are inevitable if there is poor communication between the employees. Poor communication or lack of communication can result in errors, missed deadlines and eventually failure to achieve your goals, which do not go down well with your team performance. With no communication, employees can make wrong assumption and believe in office rumors, which can be devastating.

Take advantage of task management software to ensure uninterrupted communication between employees. Encourage team members to share their ideas and ask questions. Establish a communication channel along with communication guidelines. This will go a long way in boosting employee morale and performance.

3. Unhealthy Competition

Do not get me wrong, healthy competition among your employees is great for your company because it motivate employees to perform better than their peers. Things can take a wrong turn very quickly if healthy competition turns into an unhealthy one. Jealousy and animosity comes in and destroys the cohesion between your team. Keep looking out for signs for unhealthy competition and take quick action if you find one.

4. Micromanagement

Even though, managers have a good intention when they are getting inside every detail of your work but this move can prove to be counterproductive. In a fascinating article published in Harward Business Review on the topic of demerits of micromanagement, the author, Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay sums it up brilliantly when she writes, “consistent pattern of micromanagement tells an employee you don’t trust his work or his judgment, it is a major factor in triggering disengagement.” Avoid micromanaging your employees.

5. Lack of Ownership

Employees start to disown their duties and take things lightly where there is no accountability. This infuriates managers more than anything else does, giving rise to conflicts between managers and employees. Instead of humiliating the team members in front of everyone, it is better to conduct a private meeting and find out what is exactly wrong. Additionally, make them accountable for every task they perform so they own it.

6. Incompetent Management

According to Recruiter.com’s contributor, Shala Marks, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” In one of her article, she ranks incompetence at the top of the list of reasons why employees do not like their managers. Free management library endorses that point by blaming incompetent management as the main culprit in creating workplace conflicts.

7. Overburden

Work related stress is a major factor in forcing employees to retaliate. Most of the times, it is caused when an employee is overburdened. Add to that the pressure of additional responsibilities they have to fulfill and you get an burned out employee. Managers should take advantage of task management tools to distribute task in a way that neither take employees to boredom nor overburden them.

8. Difference in Perceptions

Similar to personality differences, differences in perceptions can also pose a big challenge for managers. With each member of your team looking at things from a different perspective, it can easily lead to heated debates and workplace conflicts. The best way to solve this issue is to try to find a hybrid solution by incorporating ideas from both sides.

9. Poor Performance

When things are not going according to the plan, probability of a conflict rises exponentially, as compared to normal situation. Instead of indulging in blame game, you and your team should go back to the drawing board, identify what went wrong, and try to fix it next time around. This is where a comprehensive task management system comes into play.

10. Rude Co-workers

When I first stepped into professional life, I was not earning that much money but the bunch of people I worked with, helped my career to take off. Unfortunately, things completely changed as I switched from one company to another. Although, I was earning much more at my new job but back stabbing co-workers made my life a living hell. Rude co-workers can contribute towards your work related stress. Gallup surveys have long been pointing in that direction.

11. Lack of Resources

Research conducted at University of Colorado suggests that shortage of resources can lead to workplace conflicts. If an employee does not get the necessary resources to perform a task, he or she can easily put the blame of failure or poor performance on management. As a result, a conflict may arise.

Managing the available resources efficiently is critical for success of your team. Distribute resources efficiently so that no team member can complain about lack of resources to complete his or her task.

12. Contrasting Goals

We work in a team, right. But, what if, you are focused on one thing, while the rest of your team members are focused on another. It is a worst-case scenario you could be an as all your effort will go to waste if your goals do not align with your team members. To avoid such circumstances, you need to focus on one main goal and simplify things for your team members.

13. Mismanagement

If you want to achieve your goals, keep things organized and avoid mess. That is easier said than done. In fact, getting over the mismanagement problem is probably the hardest thing to do. Both managers and employees have to contribute to overcome this issue. Mangers should consider changing their management style while employees should improve their organization.

Do you want to solve the mismanagement problem? Be open-minded and take a closer look at your organization culture and what impact it is having on your workforce to eliminate conflicts caused due to mismanagement. Be ready to change and adopt a new style of work.

14. Unpredictable Policies

How frustrating is it to deal with frequently changing policies? Companies who are frequently chopping and changing their policies face some serious backlash from employees. To add insult to the injury, policies are changed and implemented without the consent of employees.

Follow a consistent approach when it comes to policy making and bring changes only after consultation with your employees to avoid any issues later on. Secondly, making the policy document easy to read and understand for employees so they can easily grasp every word of it.

15. Job Insecurity

It is quite natural for employees to perform poorly when they are insecure about their jobs. In fact, these employees are saving their energies from work and might be putting them in planning and applying for their next job and on making their resume look good.

Don’t want to lose your favorite employee due to job insecurity? Give them confidence, communicate with them regularly and make efforts to create a sense of loyalty in their minds. This will make them feel more at home and they will put in a better performance.


Workplace conflicts does not matter, it is how you deal with them makes all the difference. Consider workplace conflicts as a challenge and look for solution rather than focusing on the problem all the time. Effective communication can help you great deal in finding a solution to many of these problems.

With technology on your side, you can easily overcome some of these causes of conflict before they create any problem for you. Follow a proactive approach in dealing with the causes of conflict because if you leave them unattended, they can lead to conflicts that can destroy your business. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”.

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