America’s managers spend far too much time resolving staff conflicts these days, if the results of a new survey from staffing firm Accountemps is to be believed.
Accountemps interviewed top finance executives (CFOs) at companies across the U.S., and found that CFOs spend, on average, 15 percent of their time — or six hours a week — managing staff conflicts.
These results are on par with similar studies conducted as far back as 1991. Little has changed in all this time, apparently.
“The more time managers spend reducing friction between coworkers, the less time they have for tackling business priorities,” said Mike Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Company leaders should proactively look for ways to build rapport among colleagues to help curb issues before they arise.”
Accountemps offers four ways employees can handle work conflicts with grace:
* Show empathy. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye. Make an effort to understand the situation from your coworker’s perspective. Listening to his or her opinion may help you to more quickly settle the dispute.
* Act fast. Try to promptly handle the disagreement. Conflicts can disrupt others, so don’t let issues fester.
* Bring in a third party. If there is no resolution in sight, ask a manager or human resources representative to mediate. This person can offer an outside perspective and recommend a productive way forward.
* Don’t hold a grudge. Once you’ve come to an agreement, make sure you and your colleague put the matter to rest. Learn from the experience and discuss how you can avoid potential issues in the future.
Also, point out to the warring parties that you spend an inordinate amount of your time dealing with their petty personal squabbles. Go ahead, they need to hear it.