Resolve Differences: How To Handle Common Workplace Conflicts

Source: adobe stock

Apr. 18 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

Share to XShare to FacebookShare via EmailShare to LinkedIn

Conflicts are likely to happen in the workplace. Tension can make it difficult to focus and do your job. Some disagreements can even impact the entire team or department. Here are some common workplace conflicts and how to handle them.

Common Workplace Conflicts

There are a myriad of workplace conflicts that can arise. Here are some of the most common points of contention to keep in mind.

woman with glasses sits at a desk looking frustrated with her hands on her face with two women next to her out of frame
Source: Pexels
Article continues below advertisement

1. Clashes between coworkers: These conflicts are often due to differences in personality, miscommunication, task management, or lack of recognition. 

2. Working styles: It’s not surprising that people of different backgrounds have different approaches to working. Perhaps you’re detail-oriented, while your coworker is focused on the big picture. 

3. Communication styles: You may be more direct and interpret an email as passive-aggressive. Meanwhile, your team member may have trouble communicating assertively.

4. Recognition efforts: While not everyone needs a big office-wide celebration, most people appreciate some recognition for their efforts at work. 

Since you’re only responsible for yourself, it benefits you to understand how you work best. Communicating that and advocating for yourself is the best route to having the work experience you’re looking for. Overall, understanding how to navigate office politics will help you to manage your working days. 

Article continues below advertisement

How To Handle Workplace Conflict

If you’re perceptive, you can dispel conflict when it starts to brew. Learning how to share your concerns, being open to feedback, and asking for clarification are easy ways to establish a defined path forward. If a situation goes unnoticed or unattended, it could spiral out of control. Regardless of the stage, let’s examine a few ways to address workplace contention.

1. Active listening

Putting space between yourself and your coworker can help you focus on working well together. When you listen to what they’re trying to say, you can dissolve misunderstandings before they grow too big. When you can listen and not take anything they say personally, you establish rapport and make communicating more accessible. You might also catch on to underlying issues and offer lasting solutions where appropriate.

Article continues below advertisement
///pexels rfstudio  x
Source: Pexels

2. Open communication

If everyone on your team feels respected and safe enough to share their thoughts, open communication prevents larger conflicts from arising. Transparent communication fosters trust and inspires collaboration and innovation. Doing what you can to contribute to a synergetic atmosphere could influence that culture among your team to achieve more successful outcomes.

3. Seek mediation

If a situation gets out of hand, a mediator can help get things back on track, per the U.S. Department of the Interior. Mediators are typically flexible and focused on reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. An impartial party can help diffuse disputes, restore balance, and keep projects on track. 

Ideally, conflicts don’t get so big that they impact productivity and your ability to do your job. It helps to be proactive and employ tools that allow a free flow of communication and explore avenues to head off friction before real damage sets in quickly. These are just some common workplace conflicts you may experience, and if you handle them using these tips, you’ll find an amicable resolution.

Ambition Delivered.

Our weekly email newsletter is packed with stories that inspire, empower, and inform, all written by women for women. Sign up today and start your week off right with the insights and inspiration you need to succeed.

wanda headhot
By: Wanda Duncan

Wanda Duncan is a multipotentialite entrepreneur and travel and wellness writer. She’s slow traveled since 2010 through Europe, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa and Central America. Find her work in Fodor’s Travel, HerAgenda, and WeTravel. Wanda is the founder of Black Women Travel and won the Women in Travel Summit 2023 Bessie Awards Social Impact Award and was nominated for the 2021 Trailblazer Award. Connect with Wanda through her website

Latest The Main Agenda News and Updates

    Link to InstagramLink to FacebookLink to XLinkedIn IconContact us by Email

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    Black OwnedFemale Founder