Factionalism is when an organization is split into two or smaller groups with differing and often opposing opinions or interests. Workplace factionalism can be destructive and ruin relationships within the workplace, so it is important to know how to avoid it.  

Causes of factionalism 

Anything that causes employees to feel like they are against each other can cause factionalism. For example, when leaders show favoritism towards a certain department or certain employees, it can cause other employees to feel like they are in a competition to win favoritism.  

While competition in the workplace is healthy, competition should never be between coworkers fighting for approval or validation because that is when it leads to factionalism. Instead, competition should be between groups or teams all trying to reach the same goal but maybe using different strategies or techniques to get there.  

How to avoid factionalism 

Instead of creating an environment where employees feel the need to compete, leaders should prioritize making their employees feel equal and valued.  

Here are some ways to help create a factionless environment:  

  • Provide equal opportunities: It is important for leaders to have a clear and equal progression plan for their employees. If employees want to advance, having a clear progression plan will allow them to know exactly what they need to do to be successful in the company. This will also let coworkers know that any advancement that was made was fairly earned.  
  • Discuss the importance of being a team player: Giving your employees tips on how to be a better team player allows them to have the resources they need to really build that skill. When your employees learn how to be a better team player, it will help build a positive and uplifting workplace environment.  
  • Encourage self-competition: Instead of making employees feel like they need to compete with their coworkers, encourage them to compete with their personal goals and improve as an individual.  
  • Provide equal recognition: Your employees want to be rewarded and recognized for their hard work. As a leader, it is important to give equal recognition, so that all employees feel valued and seen.  

It is important for leaders to prioritize creating an environment where employees feel equal and united. Factionalism will cause many problems within your company, so being aware of what causes it and knowing how to avoid it will help your company thrive.