What Are the Causes of Workplace Problems?

When you have multiple people working together, you're bound to have some conflict. But sometimes problems in the workplace become severe enough to affect productivity and create a toxic work environment. Common workplace issues range from mildly disruptive to completely toxic and unhealthy. Figuring out the specific cause of workplace tension can make it easier to get help with work issues.

Poor Communication

Think about a time when you felt out of the loop due to lack of communication. You might feel insecure about the situation or not have enough information to make good decisions. The same thing happens in the workplace.

When upper management acts secretive, it can create worry among the staff. Employees start to wonder what the boss is hiding. Is the company about to fold? Are layoffs on the horizon? Lack of communication can also make employees feel like their managers don't trust them with information. At the very least, it makes the organization look disorganized and inefficient. Lack of information also creates a prime environment for assumptions and gossip, which adds to the confusion.

Colleagues may also be bad about communicating. It's often not intentional. Some people are just better at communicating information than others. Some people think if they know important information others should know it, too. But failure to share key details about projects, work policies and other work-related topics can disrupt the flow of work. Say the boss moves up the deadline for your project by a week but forgets to tell everyone on the team. You'll likely miss the deadline or have to scramble at the end when you finally find out about the deadline change.

Poor communication often slows down progress. If you don't have the information you need easily, you have to seek it out, which wastes time. Or you may not even realize you're missing information and make decisions or complete work without being fully informed, which can lead to mistakes or the need to redo the work.

Bad Management

Bad managers run the gamut from micromanagers who make it feel like you can't breathe without permission to "buddies" who want to be everyone's friend and provide no real leadership. Unprofessional, overbearing or inappropriate bosses cause a trickle-down effect that creates lots of problems that may eventually turn into HR issues.

Incompetency at the leadership level can hurt morale and productivity. It's tough to take direction from someone who is a poor example of a leader, no matter what the reason. Some boss behaviors can cause friction between employees. A boss who plays favorites can create resentment between co-workers, for example. If a manager fails to address poor performance, employees may continue to slack or get progressively worse, which decreases the overall quality of what the company produces.

Conflicting Styles

You probably have at least one person in your life with whom you butt heads. You just have two completely different styles of handling life. Conflicting personalities and working styles can cause major workplace issues for those involved. One example is a highly competitive type A personality who likes to control everything working with someone who's very laid back with little regard to deadlines or urgency. If those two people have to work on projects together frequently, there's a good chance of conflict because their styles are so different and incompatible.

Even if you're not involved in a tension-filled colleague relationship, you may feel the effects of people who are. When two co-workers butt heads frequently, it can cast a negative feeling on everyone in the office. People might start to take sides or withdraw from the relationship. Conflicting personalities can make it difficult to create a teamwork-based environment.

High-Stress Work Environments

A little stress can help you perform well, but a lot of stress often has a negative effect. Consistently high stress levels can cause issues in the workplace. Some jobs are naturally higher stress than others. Working in a hospital emergency room keeps you in a fast-paced life or death situation most of the time.

In other workplaces, stress is induced because of the managerial style or overall corporate culture. An example is a highly competitive work environment where employees are encouraged to do whatever it takes to beat their co-workers. Pressure from above often makes a workplace more stressful. Your boss may be feeling the heat from her boss on productivity, for example. She then takes that out on you, causing you more stress.

Bullying Behaviors

Bullying in the workplace goes beyond conflicting personalities or people you don't like. A workplace bully uses intimidation to undermine a colleague. The behavior can cause emotional harm to the person on the receiving end of the behavior. Examples of bullying include creating malicious rumors, belittling someone, screaming or using profanities toward a co-worker, tampering with a person's belongings, and physically threatening someone.

A similar and related behavior is harassment. Workplace harassment can take different forms. Making inappropriate and offensive comments or jokes is one example. Physical harassment is another issue in some workplaces. This can include any type of touch that someone doesn't want, including pushing and groping. Unwanted sexual advances also fall into this category. All of these harassment issues make the victim feel unsafe at work.

Discrimination Workplace Issues

Another major cause of workplace issues is that of discrimination. Not only do these types of behavior create a negative work environment, they are also illegal. Discrimination laws are in place to protect everybody in the workplace. But that doesn't mean that all workplaces are free of discrimination. .

Discrimination is not only harmful to the person being discriminated against.; it also may have a negative impact on every one. Discriminating behaviors should be reported immediately, so that they can be stopped, which will also minimize the damaging effects.