We spend a lot of time at work. In fact, we typically spent more time with our work colleagues than our own families and friends. It is critical for your own wellbeing and the company’s performance that you get on with your team. This does not necessarily mean you have to like each other but it does mean that you must respect each other and work well as a team.

Working well as a team is vital to your own success and the company’s success. People are not always going to get along while working as a team because conflict is a common occurrence in teams, but it is then how you as a leader handle it.


How will you fix it? Before we give you some tips on how to resolve conflict within the team you must first understand the 2 different types of team conflict. 

Types of Team Conflicts at Work

When we talk about friction in the workplace, there are two basic types: substantive and emotional conflicts.

  • Substantive Conflicts 

These kind of team friction in the workplace occurs with things such as tasks, goals, and the allocation of resources. For example, when teams have to decide together on how to track a project or what software to use to help manage their projects. Everyone works differently and will want to work with programmes they know therefore conflict will arise if neither party are willing to compromise.

  • Emotional Conflicts 

Occur from things such as jealousy, annoyance, envy, and personality conflicts. Emotional conflict is the one where two people will always seem to find themselves holding opposing viewpoints and have a hard time hiding their personal animosity. Another common occurrence with emotional conflict can also be different working styles for example one may like to work in silence while others like to listen to music.

Friction Within A Team And How To Resolve It.

Causes of Team Friction in the Workplace

There are many reasons as to why friction at work may take place; it could be teams focusing more on their emotional issues rather than work issues. Let’s take someone always being late into work, this can start to cause friction within the team if they are not dealt with fairly. 


Competition over resources is another example of team conflict, for example one colleague may have been booked into a conference room but another regularly overstays their allotted time therefore the other team member’s work will suffer.

Vague Roles & Responsibilities

When roles and responsibilities become unclear, it can heavily impact the entire team and become a major cause of friction. When roles overlap, team members may find themselves working on the same tasks simultaneously. As a result, there could be disagreements on how some work should be done or, even worse, who should do that. 

Not Taking Accountability

As a leader, set a personal example and demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility of your own failures. By doing so, you set a precedent for your colleagues of what taking accountability is. 

How to Resolve Team Friction?

Believe it or not conflict can be beneficial for the workplace, not all conflict is negative. Some people find that a deadline that is right round the corner pushes them to produce their best work as this will get their adrenaline pumping. Conflict can also spark new ideas and generate creativity. If the conflict is substantive it can produce positive results once the project / task has been a success. Teams must be able to have different opinions for new ideas to emerge. 

Our number one tip to resolving team conflict is avoiding. Now this may sound crazy as usually avoiding a problem only makes it worse however when it comes to managing people sometimes the best approach is avoiding. If the problem is very trivial then the avoiding approach is appropriate and if you as a manager want your employees to handle it informally on their own, then this tactic has been known to work. This is only if the problem is not interfering with the overall teams’ goals and performance. Otherwise you will have to step in.  

It is important to find the root of the individuals or groups unhappiness. Sometimes a team member may feel like they are doing all the workload while others have less work to do.  It could be changes within the organisation, restructuring or promotions given to other staff. When it come to dealing with conflict make sure to focus on behaviour and events, not just on personalities. 

Listen carefully and talk with other managers for advice. All cases and conflicts are going to be different, so they are all very much case by case bases. Always follow through on your plan and build on your success.

Team Building to Navigate Team Friction

No doubt conflict will arise at some point in your working world, but it is about how you deal with it that will determine the outcome. Another great way to help bring teams together and to keep morale up is treat them to a team-building day and let’s face it, teams work better and harder when they feel appreciated. 


Treat them to a team building day. Guaranteed to boost morale and improve communication, your team will benefit from it so much. Head over to our Team Building page or get in touch with us today to plan the perfect team building activity for your staff today. 

Friction Within A Team And How To Resolve It.