ConflictmanagementEven in the small business world, conflict amongst employees in the workplace is very common.

The workplace is filled with a variety of opinions, personalities and values that have the tendency to clash in even the most professional of settings. It is important to deal with any conflict in a timely manner to maintain a healthy environment.

Oftentimes people think that a conflict will simply vanish if nothing is done, but quarrels can turn into a much larger problem if not quickly dealt with.

That is why managers need to understand what causes employee conflict, so that they can help to correct it before it comes wholly unmanageable.

Key Highlights:

  • Employee conflict in small businesses is common due to differing opinions, personalities, and values.
  • Ignoring conflicts can escalate issues; timely resolution is crucial for maintaining a healthy workplace environment.
  • Poor communication is a major conflict trigger, leading to misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions about tasks.
  • Diverse backgrounds and generational gaps can cause personality clashes and potential offense among employees.
  • Competition is beneficial for productivity but can lead to conflict if it turns hostile, sabotaging teamwork.
  • Effective conflict management and resolution processes are essential for a harmonious and productive workplace.


A lack of communication is one of the major causes of conflict between employees.

Whether it is between two employees or between a manager and a group of employees, it is essential to communicate tasks efficiently to avoid scrutiny. Failure to communicate clearly and concisely may cause employees to make incorrect assumptions about a project.

When poor communication becomes a major issue, it not only affects workplace productivity but it also decreases employee morale as well.

Make sure you have set processes to communicate effectively, whether it is by email, in-office messenger, or a chain of command that employees must adhere to.


A typical work environment features employees with a diverse range of personalities and values. It can be easy for an employee to not understand or accept the differences of another employee.

Conflict arises because personalities collide and it becomes possible to offend one another.

This happens more often when there is a larger generation gap between employees, since many younger members of staff may not possess the same work values as older and more experienced workers. Employees that do not accept one another’s differences may gradually turn abusive, which intensifies the conflict.

Conflicts like this may call for stronger action than just speaking to each employee in turn. If these types of issues continue, it may be time for company-wide conflict training exercises.


Competition in the workplace can be healthy and increase productivity within the workplace.

However, if this type of competition becomes offensive, belligerent or aggressive, it can end up causing unhealthy conflict.

When unhealthy competition is not handled properly, employees may start sabotaging their fellow work colleagues or stealing clients for their own gain.

Sadly, when competition becomes hostile and unhealthy, it starts to promote selfishness and individualism, as well as discouraging teamwork, comradeship and growth within the workplace.

How to Prevent Workplace Conflicts: Our Top Recommendation

  • Enhance Communication: Implement clear channels for dialogue and feedback, including regular meetings and an open-door policy.
  • Celebrate Diversity: Offer diversity training to help employees appreciate and understand different perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities: Clarify job duties to prevent overlap that can lead to competition and resentment.
  • Promote Team Building: Engage employees in team-building activities to foster camaraderie and a sense of collective purpose.
  • Develop Conflict Resolution Protocols: Establish a step-by-step process for addressing disputes, including mediation if necessary.
  • Monitor Competition: Keep a

Wrapping Up

Conflict will naturally occur since no two employees are the same.

Stopping animosity between employees is essential for a successful business, and businesses must implement proper procedures when it comes to conflict management.

This will help to stamp out any problematic issue before it becomes too much for the department (or the company as a whole) to handle.

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