Six Types of Management Conflicts in Colors

It is quite common that conflicts arise in a workplace especially between managers and their subordinates. The type of organization does not matter because this relationship basically requires good communication, respect and understanding of one's limitations. However, these elements may not be present at all times especially when the management style used by a leader and the desired way of managing by the subordinate may not coincide. This is the focus of this blogpost.

For the sake of elaboration, this blogpost will use three common leadership styles, namely democratic, laissez-faire (little or no control), or autocratic (strict or full control). There are no better styles, as each of them are useful depending on the situation or goal. However, each style in this blogpost is designated a color to distinguish them. The same is done to determine the desired style by the subordinate. The colors are mixed and matched to describe the interaction between two factors, resulting to a possible management. An explanation follows thereafter.


It may seem that this a perfect combination, but there still exist several problems arising from this. The cooperative and coordinating feature of a democratic approach requires the use of time and resources. This however may result in conflicts between head and subordinate when the ultimate goal needs to be accomplished immediately, or worse both are working not for the same intentions or unified goal.


This happens when at least one exhibits democratic approach and the other shows no or little control at all. This is ofcourse a source of a management conflict. If the leader is the democratic one, the working relationship will become a source of frustration and in the end, lack of self-confidence as a leader, given the subordinate seems not to care about the organization's goal. The same frustration exists when the subordinate is the more democratic one, but this will somehow result to forming subunits in the organization where the democratic subordinate will willingly assume the role of a mini-leader. In the long run, several groups will arise creating a rift and tension in the organization.


This is perhaps the worse combination when both head and the subordinate do not care about the job and tasks they need to do. They seem to be motivated by the status and the financial gain of working, but not personally dedicated in uplifting the organization as a whole. When this situation occurs, conflicts usually happen when both of them will attempt to push responsibilities away from them and to the other. Ofcourse, the unwilling other will do the opposite thing and a heated useless conversation will arise between inefficient individuals.


This is perhaps a common clash in workplace. One wanting more control but the other wants a more cooperative role. Control may mean control of one self in performing duties or control with others. However, this type of conflict maybe alleviated when the one with the more democratic stance will be more open-minded and be more attentive in listening to the other. Giving the other wanting strict control space and opportunity to do so, without compromising others maybe a good solution. This is more doable if the democratic one is the leader, but this will be very challenging if it is the opposite. When the leader is strict and the subordinates thinks cooperation is better, the task may not be necessarily compromised immediately, but in the long run, the working relationship will be exhaustive and strained. In the end, subordinates lose the desire to work, even they are capable of. The supposed-to-be efficient subordinates may choose either confrontation or an eventual resignation from work.


This conflict arise when one wants strict control, but the other does not care so much. To say one wants less or no controll means either one wants more creativity in doing task, or not really interested in working. When the latter happens, frustration happens when the leader cares to much and the subordinates exhibits the opposite. The lack of interest by the subordinates may result for the auster leader to make drastic changes, which may not result to any significant improvement either. Moreover, when a leader controls a subordinate wanting more creative space in work is like saying the leader hinders the growth of the employee or the organization itself. This could be the result of arrogance, jealousy or perhaps ignorance of how an effective leader really functions.

But what if, it is the leader showing less or no control, but the subordinates desires more control. This could be very confusing for the subordinates. They may perceive the leader is incompetent in his or her job, but not necessarily is. A good communication is required for the leader to convey his or her leadership style. However, no matter what the leader does in one way or another, he or she will be misunderstood because it is quite unnatural and unexpected that subordinates desire more control than the leader himself.


The most emotionally-draining management conflict is this type. Both wants to control one another. Manipulative tactics may result, as well as lack of trust and suspiciousness in the long run. Both will be focused on the personal conflicts and communication problems, rather than the organization's benefit. This is very unproductive, but sometimes this situation is a result of bad recruitment process for the organization. This is to say the company got a task-oriented leader unable to adapt to his or her subordinates, or the organization employed someone wanting to be a leader but not really capable of doing so.

Management conflicts usually are happening when the organization is pressed to its limits or has reached a major turning point. The real intentions of each subordinate and the leader are revealed. The clash is almost evident such that they question is not whether a conflict will arise, but when and how. This is the reason why there is a need for a good orientation prior hand to delineate tasks and roles to avert potential conflicts ahead in an organization, benefitting everyone and the goals of the entirety as well.


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