Categories: Better IT Teams

How to Recognize the 5 Conflict Levels in the Workplace

5 Levels of Conflict

Level 1: Problem


  • Language is generally open-hearted and constructive.
  • People uses facts to back up the argument.

Level 2: Disagreement


  • Language is self-protection.

Level 3: Contest


  • Language is distorted where presumptions are made and over generalisation.

Level 4: Crusade


  • The conflict becomes ideological and polarised.

Level 5: World War


  • Language is little or non-existent.

Response Options

  • Collaboration: Look for a win-win situation.
  • Consensus: Look for a solution everyone can agree on.

Response Options

  • Support: Empower team to resolve disagreement themselves.
  • Safety: Use collaboration games to reinforce team shared values.

Response Options

  • Accommodate: Yield to others viewpoint as the relationship more important than an issue.
  • Negotiate: If an issue is “Dividable” then negotiation can work.
  • Get Factual: Gather data on an issue to get facts.

Response Options

  • Diplomacy: Be a facilitator between two groups as all communication has broken down.
  • De-Escalate: Try to de-escalate the conflict to a lower level.

Response Options

  • Unresolvable: Sometimes when it gets to level 5 the conflict is unresolvable and you need to figure out  a way everyone can remain working without hurting each other.

> More Information on Conflict Levels in Agile Environment

This article is part of the our 100 Agile Tools & Techniques epic article based off the PMI list of recommended techniques and tools in their PMI-ACP certification syllabus.

Shane Drumm

Shane is an Agile Project Manager who specialises in digital web projects. He has worked with numerous distributed teams in Asia, Europe, US and Australia. In his spare time, enjoy travelling, cycling, digital start-up ventures and hustling to help other business owners with their digital presence. Find out more about Shane on and please reach out and connect with Shane on LinkedIn.


Recent Posts

6 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills At Work

1. Pay attention to your nonverbal communication Your nonverbal communication can indicate your level of… Read More

1 day ago

Free PMP Cheatsheets + Resources to Pass PMP Exam

PMP Cheatsheets PMP Comparisons and terms PMP Terms PMP Cheatsheet Exam Prep Books EdWel… Read More

3 days ago

8 Ways to Get Better at Small Talk

Are you socially awkward? Terrible with names? A motor mouth when you’re nervous? Use these… Read More

5 days ago

AFFORD Listening Technique for High Levels of Communication

Attention Give the speaker your full attention. Turn your body towards them & make eye… Read More

2 weeks ago

19 Scout Team Building Games that IT Teams Need

The girl scouts have been building teams for years. They have some great group activities… Read More

4 weeks ago

Build Awesome Digital Teams where Online Teamwork Skills is #1 🙏🏻

Determing which online teamwork skills a team member needs is a essential skills for digital… Read More

1 month ago