4 Common Types of Team Conflict & How to Resolve Them — Avant Team Solutions (2023)

One of the many challenging tasks of handling a corporate team is not only to get each member to complete their tasks individually but also to have them cooperate and work together to accomplish a common goal. What makes or breaks a team stems from the same root - their differences. If these differences are managed well, better communication and increased productivity are expected. However, if differences are left unaddressed, conflict arises.

Conflicts within the team can either be healthy or unhealthy. Healthy conflict is constructive and respectful; even though disagreements and clashes of different opinions arise, a shared understanding is achieved in the end. Unhealthy conflict, on the other hand, is assertive and offensive. It usually creates a toxic office environment with a rare chance of having a positive resolution, unless intervened by a neutral third party to settle it.

According to a study by Randstad, 58% of employees leave their jobs because of a toxic working environment. While another research by Gallup shows that almost 75% of workers quit because of their frustration with their managers or team. The numbers don’t lie. Hence, one of the most important roles of a team leader is not only to manage and motivate the team members and assess their performance but most importantly, to detect and manage unhealthy conflict early before it infects the team.

That being said, we have laid out the four most common conflicts within a team and the different ways to efficiently settle them.

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4 Types of Usual Team Conflicts and Ways to Settle Them

1. Task-based Conflict

Task conflict is the failure to reach understanding and agreement in a team regarding their goals and tasks. These are issues that usually occur when team members have a disagreement or different understandings about performing a certain task or with regards to following the company's policies and processes. Understanding how their work impacts their peers or other department and communicating as a team about timelines is very important in order to resolve this type of conflict.

2. Leadership Conflict

Every leader has a different leadership style of handling a team - they might be collaborative, open, or inclusive. However, the leadership style doesn’t really rely on what type of leader you are but according to what type of team you’re handling. The leader will adjust to the need of the team, not the other way around. That being said, leadership conflict arises within a corporate team when the leadership style being used does not suit the team they’re managing. The team may not respond well to the leadership style and the best way to remedy this is that the leader must adapt their leadership style to fit the task and the team. Adjusting your leadership style to accommodate the different needs and personalities of each member is very helpful to avoid conflict.

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3. Workstyle conflict

This type of conflict arises due to each member's different preferences when it comes to completing a task. Some value quality over quantity, while some value the other way around. That is to say, some team members may work slowly and mindfully because they care more about the quality of their task rather than the quantity. For others, they want to be able to accomplish a lot of tasks in a given amount of time.

The key to avoiding this type of conflict is to communicate and collaborate despite the differences in work style in order to carry out the tasks well. Acceptance and appreciation of uniqueness and differences are a huge part of teamwork.

4. Personality Clashes

This is, perhaps, one of the most common types of team conflict. This is caused by the differences in personality among team members. It is important to emphasize the value of being patient and understanding each other’s differences within the team, especially when one has to work with someone whose personality is the complete opposite of their own.

Ways on How to Resolve Team Conflicts

Everyone must be able to understand and accept the difference in each other's personalities and find a way to set aside those differences in order to work well together in accomplishing a task.

If there’s one valuable leadership skill to have it would be the ability to recognize conflict, acknowledge differences, and find a quick and peaceful resolution to resolve it. Here are some ways to settle conflicts in a team:

1. Defuse personality conflicts

The most common source of conflicts takes root when there’s a lack of empathy. Each member of the team has differences in personality, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, culture, religion, political views, and more.

When these differences trigger clashes at work, it’s a mistake to ignore or minimize the conflict. The problem in personality conflicts is the lack of empathy... or understanding... It stands to reason that helping employees understand differences by training them on DISC or other personality tools would be helpful.

2. Redirect competition

Competition — like the conflict itself — can be a healthy thing for a team. Healthy competition can create a more energized team and spur creative thinking.

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Nevertheless, sometimes the things your business establishes as incentives for hard work can also trigger conflict based on competition. Healthy competition is much more effective rather than a toxic one. When competition turns toxic, the consequences are rather rooted in an emotional core.

To deal with this type of conflict, recognize and acknowledge first that the team member’s feelings are normal and completely understandable. It would be a mistake to make them feel worse by condemning their emotions. What you can do instead is to help them try and redirect their anger and frustration into healthier expressions. Better yet, why not make the team members compete against themselves, rather than with each other. For example, employees who can beat their own ‘personal best’ will be given bonuses at a certain percentage.

3. Improve poor communication

Miscommunication can be the root of most conflicts in a team. When communication fails, simple misunderstandings can blow up into a full-scale conflict. One way to address this is to have an agreement within the team that outlines and specifies the expectations and rules of working together. Going against such expectations can lead to dire consequences and so have the team agree to such specific processes in order to help improve their communication. Organizing specialized training in effective listening and communication for the team can also be very helpful in reducing misunderstandings.

If you are leaning towards this option, you ought to look for an expert that will help your employees roleplay conflict situations and then offer feedback and suggestions on how each member could have responded and communicated in those scenarios. Keep track of any miscommunications that are not aligned with the team agreement and then use that particular training to address the communication conflict.

Remember, your effectiveness as a leader does not only depend on how good you are at leading your team but on how well you can address and resolve the conflict within as well. If you want to know how to settle conflicts in a professional way, there are team coaches that can help you identify conflict before it starts and how to resolve it once it develops.

(Video) Conflict Resolution: How to Settle Your Differences Fairly | BrainPOP

Do you want to get a quick and accurate read of your team's overall health? Take our complimentary team success assessment now!

If you do use it, please take a moment to share your feedback in the comments. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get more valuable content like this.

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FAQs

What are the 4 types of conflict in workplace? ›

According to Amy Gallo, who wrote the Harvard Business Review Guide to Managing Conflict at Work, there are four types of work conflict: status conflict, task conflict, process conflict, and relationship conflict.

What are the 4 different types of conflict resolution strategies? ›

According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), used by human resource (HR) professionals around the world, there are five major styles of conflict management—collaborating, competing, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising.

What are the 4 causes of conflict? ›

Top 4 Causes of Conflict
  • Personality differences.
  • Non-compliance with rules and policies.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Competition.

How do you resolve conflict in workplace? ›

How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace
  1. Talk with the other person. ...
  2. Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities. ...
  3. Listen carefully. ...
  4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement. ...
  5. Prioritize the areas of conflict. ...
  6. Develop a plan to work on each conflict. ...
  7. Follow through on your plan. ...
  8. Build on your success.
5 Jan 2018

What is the best way to resolve conflict? ›

Some Ways to Resolve Conflicts
  1. Talk directly. Assuming that there is no threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. ...
  2. Choose a good time. ...
  3. Plan ahead. ...
  4. Don't blame or name-call. ...
  5. Give information. ...
  6. Listen. ...
  7. Show that you are listening. ...
  8. Talk it all through.

What are the 4 types of conflict of interest? ›

There are also situations where you might have more than one type of conflict.
...
Part 3: Different types of conflicts of interest
  • financial conflict;
  • non-financial conflict;
  • conflict of roles; or.
  • predetermination.

What are the 5 types conflict? ›

According to the Ralph Kilmann's Conflict Mode Instrument, there are five types of interpersonal conflict reactions: accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising.

What are 6 ways to resolve conflict? ›

Let's take a look at the Six-Step Method for Resolving Conflict.
  • Define the problem. ...
  • Come together and communicate. ...
  • Establish relationships. ...
  • Develop an action plan. ...
  • Gain commitment. ...
  • Provide feedback.

What are the 5 conflict resolution strategies explain in detail with examples? ›

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann developed five conflict resolution strategies that people use to handle conflict, including avoiding, defeating, compromising, accommodating, and collaborating. This is based on the assumption that people choose how cooperative and how assertive to be in a conflict.

What are the 7 steps in conflict resolution? ›

How to Resolve a Conflict in 7 Simple Steps
  • Step #1: Identify Stakeholders. ...
  • Step #2: Ignore, Manage, or Resolve. ...
  • Step #3: Compete or Collaborate. ...
  • Step #4: Select Goals. ...
  • Step #5: Listen, Empathize, and Validate. ...
  • Step #6: Ask Questions. ...
  • Step #7: Agree on a Plan. ...
  • Conclusion.
4 Jun 2021

What are the common conflicts in a workplace? ›

The 5 Most Common Workplace Conflicts & What You Can Do About Them. High staff turnover, absenteeism, excess sick leave, problems with productivity, poor company culture, hushed voices around the office… this can all be a result of workplace conflict that is poorly handled.

What are some common conflicts? ›

6 Workplace Conflicts and Resolutions
  • Interdependence/Task-Based Conflicts. ...
  • Leadership Conflicts. ...
  • Work Style Conflicts. ...
  • Personality-Based Conflicts. ...
  • Discrimination. ...
  • Creative Idea Conflict.

What causes team conflict? ›

Common causes of team conflict include conflicting interests, incompatible work styles, competition over resources, failure to follow norms, poor communication, and performance deficiencies.

What is the most common conflict? ›

1. Resolving conflicts due to misunderstandings or mistaken perceptions. This is one of the most common type of conflicts. They arise when there's a failure in the communication between two people.

What is Team conflict in the workplace? ›

Team conflict, or workplace conflict, is a breakdown of interpersonal relationships. This takes place between two or more group members. Team conflicts can happen between: Two employees (such as two salespeople) One team leader and another (such as a sales manager and marketing manager having an interpersonal conflict)

What is the most common cause of conflict? ›

There are five main causes of conflict: information conflicts, values conflicts, interest conflicts, relationship conflicts, and structural conflicts. Information conflicts arise when people have different or insufficient information, or disagree over what data is relevant.

How do you handle conflict in a team interview question? ›

Follow these steps to help you successfully answer interview questions about dealing with conflict:
  1. Briefly describe the conflict that occurred. ...
  2. Mention your role in the situation. ...
  3. Explain how you approached the problem and any actions you took. ...
  4. Share results that prove how the outcome was positive.
24 Aug 2021

What are the three ways of resolving conflict? ›

Negotiation, mediation and arbitration, often called ADR or alternative dispute resolution, are the most well known. Whether you are involved in a family or neighborhood dispute or a lawsuit involving thousands of dollars, these processes should be considered.

What is conflict of interest give examples? ›

A conflict of interest involves a person or entity that has two relationships competing with each other for the person's loyalty. For example, the person might have a loyalty to an employer and also loyalty to a family business. Each of these businesses expects the person to have its best interest first.

What is meant by a conflict of interest An example will help? ›

A conflict of interest arises when what is in a person's best interest is not in the best interest of another person or organization to which that individual owes loyalty. For example, an employee may simultaneously help himself but hurt his employer by taking a bribe to purchase inferior goods for his company's use.

How do you avoid conflict of interest in the workplace? ›

How to avoid conflict of interest?
  1. Avoiding Direct Involvement (Avoid) Don't get involved in it if you are unsure whether a particular activity poses a conflict of interest. ...
  2. Take Action to Reduce Risks (Reduce) ...
  3. Disclose Information About the Situation (Disclose) ...
  4. Ethical Standards (Follow)

What are the most common causes of conflict in the workplace? ›

Causes of conflict in the workplace
  • poor management.
  • unfair treatment.
  • unclear job roles.
  • inadequate training.
  • poor communication.
  • poor work environment.
  • lack of equal opportunities.
  • bullying and harassment.

How do you resolve conflict in leadership? ›

Here are a few steps you can take to help resolve conflicts effectively when they arise:
  1. Assess the situation. ...
  2. Only intervene when necessary. ...
  3. Create guidelines. ...
  4. Recognize causes of conflict. ...
  5. Work together with conflicting team members. ...
  6. Stay neutral.
3 May 2021

What are the 6 types of conflicts? ›

Many stories contain multiple types of conflict, but there is usually one that is the main focus.
  • Character vs. Self. ...
  • Character vs. Character. ...
  • Character vs. Nature. ...
  • Character vs. Supernatural. ...
  • Character vs. Technology. ...
  • Character vs. Society.
29 Sept 2021

What are the 5 stages of conflict resolution? ›

The Five Steps to Conflict Resolution
  • Step 1: Define the source of the conflict. ...
  • Step 2: Look beyond the incident. ...
  • Step 3: Request solutions. ...
  • Step 4: Identify solutions both disputants can support. ...
  • Step 5: Agreement.
25 Jul 2019

What are the four kinds of conflict resolution which is the most effective at resolving conflicts? ›

Conflicts can be resolved in a variety of ways, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Negotiation. In conflict resolution, you can and should draw on the same principles of collaborative negotiation that you use in dealmaking.

What is the most effective tool in conflict resolution? ›

13 Tools for Resolving Conflict in the Workplace, with Customers and in Life
  1. Stay Calm. ...
  2. Listen to Understand. ...
  3. Accentuate the Positive. ...
  4. State Your Case Tactfully. ...
  5. Attack the Problem, Not the Person. ...
  6. Avoid the Blame Game. ...
  7. Focus on the Future, Not the Past. ...
  8. Ask the Right Kind of Questions.
17 Jul 2019

What are the 5 types of conflicts? ›

According to the Ralph Kilmann's Conflict Mode Instrument, there are five types of interpersonal conflict reactions: accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising.

What are 5 examples of conflict? ›

5 examples of conflict in the workplace
  • Interdependence conflict. Interdependence is when two or more people rely on one another to complete a task or reach a goal. ...
  • Leadership conflict. ...
  • Working style conflict. ...
  • Personality conflict. ...
  • Background-based conflict.
13 Sept 2021

What are the 4 types of conflict of interest? ›

There are also situations where you might have more than one type of conflict.
...
Part 3: Different types of conflicts of interest
  • financial conflict;
  • non-financial conflict;
  • conflict of roles; or.
  • predetermination.

How do you resolve conflict in the workplace? ›

How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace
  1. Talk with the other person. ...
  2. Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities. ...
  3. Listen carefully. ...
  4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement. ...
  5. Prioritize the areas of conflict. ...
  6. Develop a plan to work on each conflict. ...
  7. Follow through on your plan. ...
  8. Build on your success.
5 Jan 2018

How do you resolve conflict? ›

Some Ways to Resolve Conflicts
  1. Talk directly. Assuming that there is no threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. ...
  2. Choose a good time. ...
  3. Plan ahead. ...
  4. Don't blame or name-call. ...
  5. Give information. ...
  6. Listen. ...
  7. Show that you are listening. ...
  8. Talk it all through.

How do you handle conflict Example answer? ›

“When faced with a conflict, I like to ask questions and understand my coworker's perspective. This helps keep the situation calm, helps them feel like they're being heard, and after this, I've found it's much easier to come to an agreement or compromise while both staying a lot calmer.”

What is the most common conflict? ›

1. Resolving conflicts due to misunderstandings or mistaken perceptions. This is one of the most common type of conflicts. They arise when there's a failure in the communication between two people.

What are the common conflicts in a workplace? ›

The 5 Most Common Workplace Conflicts & What You Can Do About Them. High staff turnover, absenteeism, excess sick leave, problems with productivity, poor company culture, hushed voices around the office… this can all be a result of workplace conflict that is poorly handled.

What are the basic types of conflict? ›

There are four major types of conflict: Interpersonal Conflict. Intrapersonal Conflict. Intergroup Conflict.

What are the different types of conflict explain with example? ›

Internal vs.

Internal conflict is when a character struggles with their own opposing desires or beliefs. It happens within them, and it drives their development as a character. 2. External conflict sets a character against something or someone beyond their control.

What are the 3 main types of conflict? ›

Different types of conflict — including task conflict, relationship conflict, and value conflict—can benefit from different approaches to conflict resolution.
  • Task Conflict. ...
  • Relationship Conflict. ...
  • Value Conflict.
10 Oct 2022

What causes team conflict? ›

Common causes of team conflict include conflicting interests, incompatible work styles, competition over resources, failure to follow norms, poor communication, and performance deficiencies.

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