+359 2 850 5364

Conflict at work - the most common reasons

8 main reasons for conflicts at work

What are the main reasons for the outbreak of conflicts at work? How to handle conflict at work.

It is applicable at the moment when a specific clash is detected - a clash of interests, actions, instructions, understandings.

Characteristic of the conflict is that participants view the situation according to their own understanding, as their actions and words are not characterized by objectivism.

There are eight main reasons for the outbreak of conflict at work. Let's look at them in detail.

Insufficient resources

To fulfill their duties well, all employees need some resources - from office accessories to colleagues' help. When more than one person or group needs access to the same resource, a conflict may break out.

To avoid such a situation, you need to provide your employees with everything they need. Teach them how to prioritize their time and resources, and how to negotiate with each other for the resources they need.

If a conflict situation still occurs, bring the two sides together and urge them to openly discuss their needs. Organizing such an open discussion can help the parties understand the views of the opposite camp and better understand their mutual needs.

Incompatible styles

Each employee has their own style of work. For example, some people like the thrill of passing on their projects at the last minute while others prefer the opposite. When two such styles collide, conflict may break out.

To avoid it, you can think about the work habits of all your employees and build on them. You may even ask them to pass a personal test to encourage them to better understand their colleagues' work habits.

Incompatible perceptions

People perceive the world around them in a different way. As time goes on, we all build up certain understandings and stereotypes. Their incompatibility very often leads to conflicts. For example, if you assign one of your employees a task that is principally the responsibility of another employee, you can cause tensions between them.

To avoid such a situation, always communicate with your team openly. The more information you share with them, the less likely it is to interpret an event in the wrong way.

Incompatible goals

Sometimes employees are assigned non-compliant goals. For example, one of the managers may think that the most important element of customer service is speed, while another may think that quality service should be a priority.

So: When you assign goals to your employees, make sure that these goals do not contradict the goals set by another person. And if you are an employee and you encounter such a situation, talk to your manager and discuss the achievement of goals that work for everyone.

Pressure and stress

We often have to rely on our colleagues to complete a task. But what happens if one of your colleagues has promised to write the report by noon but instead starts working on another task? Such situations usually break out at times when urgent tasks need to be done.


If something like this happens to your team, make sure to redistribute tasks and deadlines to reduce tension.

Incompatible roles

Sometimes we have to perform a task that is beyond our usual duties. If we happen to enter a "foreign territory", contradictions may arise. The reverse situation may also happen - for us to be entrusted with a task that needs to be accomplished by someone else.

If you notice that your team members are experiencing similar role incompatibilities, explain why you assigned tasks in the way you selected.

Incompatible Values

Imagine that your manager has asked you to perform a task that is inconsistent with your ethical understanding. Do what your manager has asked you or opt-out? If you refuse, will you lose your manager's trust or even your job?

To avoid such situations, do not make your team members do something that is inconsistent with their or your values.

Missing or often changing policies

When changing company policy, be sure to discuss it clearly and in detail with your team. Otherwise, a conflict may erupt.

So: When there are such changes, make sure your employees understand the changes and what they are. If people are familiar with the new rules, they have a much better chance of adopting them.

To learn how to handle conflict at work, you can sign up for our online " Effective Conflict Management " training.

Related Articles