Interdependence Conflict

Interdependence in the workplace is the way employees interact and relate with one another, drawing from each person's contribution so that a greater goal is reached.

These types of conflicts are task-based and usually occur when a group of individuals are working on a project together. During this time, the group needs to coordinate their tasks so that everyone can successfully get their part done. Some employees will need others to pull their socks up if they’re not up to speed, as it could be holding up their work. For example, if a project is coming to a close, but the whole team is waiting for someone to edit the final version, that employee is holding the group up, which could make them miss their deadline.

This can often cause heated discussions between colleagues where one does not feel like another is pulling their weight.

The problem generally does not surface up the leadership ladder until employee attitudes are formed against one another. Resentment can begin to fester, which develops into workplace conflict. It’s like a snowball effect, beginning as a small issue between two employees and developing into a bigger problem involving management.

Let’s say an employee has been waiting for another individual to complete a task, but they’re late. The employee has requested what’s needed, but they still haven’t delivered. The employee will become irritated over the situation, and resentment will grow towards the employee, and towards management.

Why management?

At this point, the employee could assume that management is ignorant of the situation. They could blame management for allowing the situation to get to the point where the employee has to ‘act the manager’ and come down on a different employee.

As an employee, if you experience a situation like this and you attempt to deal with it yourself, here are some vocabulary tips:

Instead of…

Why not try…


  • You’re holding everyone up.

  • Could you have a look at that task today?

  • Any chance you could jump on that task today?

  • Can you do me a favour?

  • Would you have a look at that task for me now?

  • I really need it sent over as soon as possible.

  • We’re already dead late as it is.

  • Can you prioritise the task today because our deadline is looming closer.

  • I can’t wait around for you forever. Get it done!

  • Why are you so slow?

  • I’m going to management about this. It’s a disgrace!


After you have tried to resolve the situation in an amicable fashion, the only option left might be to approach management with the situation, especially before it goes too far.


Maybe you are the management in this situation, and an employee comes to you visibly upset and annoyed that another employee is holding up their work. Here are some vocabulary tips for you:

Instead of…

Why not try…


  • I don’t have the time to deal with this.

  • Okay. Let’s have a look at what’s causing this issue.

  • I see. Leave it with me…

  • Right. Firstly, take a breath and allow me to handle this.

  • It could be an underlying issue the employee is having.

  • (…and) don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.

  • I’ll have it dealt with by the end of the day.

  • Can you move on to something else while I have a word with him?

  • I’ll talk to him.

  • Can you not sort this out amongst yourselves?

  • You’re making a big deal out of nothing.

  • Just get on with it.


Considering the employee has come to you visibly distraught, the best thing to do is put their mind at ease. Let them know that you will take care of the situation, and they can get back to their normal duties. It’s important that the team knows that if they come to you with a problem, you are willing and capable of handling it.

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