Workplace conflict happens. The good news though is that it can result in positive outcomes if managed appropriately. To help you with this, we've listed the four common types of workplace conflict, plus the six steps to work through to resolve the situation.
4 Types of Workplace Conflict
Four common types of workplace conflict are:
- Work style conflict - some people prefer to work alone, while others want to work in groups. Some people may like to work close to a deadline, with others wanting to get tasks done ahead of schedule.
- Personality conflict - sometimes people just rub each other up the wrong way because of their personality and/or background.
- Discrimination conflict - serious conflicts resulting in harassment or discrimination due to age, gender or race.
- Leadership conflict - this occurs when management has or uses a different working style than the employee uses or prefers. For instance, a manager may be annoyed by an employee not using their initiative, while the employee may want the manager to give more direction as what to do.
Once you've identified the conflict type, you can move onto resolving it.
6 Workplace Conflict Management Steps
Here are 6 steps you can follow to help manage a conflict at work:
- Clarify the problem - work with all sides to identify what the problem, including learning about the needs everyone has that are not getting met and all points of view.
- Establish a common goal - talk with all parties about what they want to see happen to solve the problem and then come to a common goal, even if it is just that they want to solve the problem.
- Talk about ways to achieve the common goal - This everyone needs to brainstorm ways to achieve the common goal, taking turns to listen and to share ideas.
- Identify barriers to achieving the common goal -In this step of the process, talk about how the problem started in the first place and what issues there could be that would prevent the common goal being met. Define what can and can't be fixed, and for those things that can, talk about the ways you could remove the barriers.
- Come to an agreement on how to solve the problem - talk about what solutions each person would be ok with and come to a common understanding of what is required to fix the issue. Identify ways that this could be prevented from happening again in the future.
- Decide on what tasks each person will do - each person needs to be given the responsibility of doing something which will achieve the common goal, as well as understanding that this is a solution everyone has agreed upon.
Sometimes it can be best to bring in a professional who can help you manage workplace conflict. Take a look through our business directory to find an experienced HR professional who can help you to sort things out.