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5 Workplace Conflicts Every Small Business Will Encounter

Here's a look at five common types of workplace conflicts that you will likely encounter as you grow your small business.

Conflict is sometimes an unavoidable part of our personal lives. Our workplace is not immune to it. Yet workplace conflicts are not always easy to resolve. For employees, unresolved work issues often result in hopelessness, job dissatisfaction, depression, and general unhappiness.

If left undealt with these issues can lead to aggression, violence, withdrawal, and even resignation. This can cause deeper problems such as absenteeism, high employee turnover, and company culture deficits.


Five types of workplace conflicts

Here’s a look at five common types of workplace conflicts that you will likely encounter as you grow your small business.


1. Leadership conflict

Every leader has their own way of leading a team. When you have co-founders the distinction in leadership styles becomes even more prominent. Keep in mind that your employees may have to work under the leadership of different people throughout the day. Dealing with different leadership styles may cause irritation and confusion.

For instance, one of your cofounders may take a direct approach to work, while you have a more inclusive and open style of communication. The best way to tackle these differences is to focus on developing a synergistic company culture and core values that guide your team. These principles must be strong enough to offer consistency in decision-making and people’s overall involvement in the business.


2. Interdependency-based conflict

Oftentimes an employee has to rely on someone else’s cooperation, input, or output to get their job done. This can cause dissension. For example, if a member of your sales team is regularly late to input monthly sales figures, then your accountant will definitely be late in submitting reports. This type of interdependency-based conflict can be resolved by clarifying roles and responsibilities while ensuring that each employee is held accountable for their tasks.

Photo: Drobot Dean, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Drobot Dean, YFS Magazine


3. Workstyle differences

Everyone has a different style of working to complete assigned tasks. It is important to keep this in mind when training new employees and managing workload. For example, there are people who prefer to work with a team-oriented approach.

On the other hand, there are those who are independent and task-oriented; they prefer to complete the work quickly without external input. If you understand that people have different styles of working, then you can better manage employee conflicts as they arise.


4. Cultural-based dissension

As Houston Chronicle writer Ruth Mayhew explains, “Workplace diversity trainers often mention that there are more similarities among employees than there are differences; however, despite the many common attributes employees share, there still exist cultural differences.

Culture is defined as a set of values, practices, traditions or beliefs a group shares, whether due to age, race or ethnicity, religion or gender.” Naturally, employees from various backgrounds will experience conflict. In order to handle and preempt disputes, it is essential to strike a balance between these differences.


5. Personality clashes

Personality clashes at a workplace are generally fueled by perceptions about someone’s actions, character, or motives. For instance, if a team leader verbally insults another member of your staff, they will easily view him or her as inappropriate and disrespectful. When left unchecked, that employee (and others) may harbor resentment. The best way to tackle this type of situation is to understand each other’s feelings and encourage team members to push their egos aside.


Avoiding workplace conflicts

Avoiding these types of workplace disputes should be a preemptive part of your company culture. But when they do happen, actively resolving these conflicts can create a more positive and enriching work environment.


Angelina Farrell works with intermediate.com.au as a workplace conflict resolution practitioner. Her passion for writing makes her write informative blogs dealing with workplace disputes, solutions, mediation, etc.


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