Executives today are being sidetracked by peace negotiations among staff when that time could be better spent negotiating business deals. In a new survey from Accountemps, CFOs said they spend, on average, 15 percent of their time — or six hours a week — managing staff conflicts. The results are on par with similar studies conducted as far back as 1991.
View an infographic of the survey findings.
“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.”
Steinitz added, “It’s unrealistic to expect workers to get along all the time. But not every issue needs to be escalated to management. Employees who can properly handle conflict with tact and diplomacy are in a better position to assume leadership roles in the future.”
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.
About the Research
The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at roberthalf.com/accountemps.
For further information: Bianca De Rose, 650.234.6022, email@example.com