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Constant Conflict? CFOs Claim to Clear Up Coworker Conflicts at Least 1 Day a Week

Having employees who are constantly at each other’s throats can’t be good for your business or office moral! How much time do you Spend refereeing your employees’ squabbles? A new survey sheds some light into how long it takes to calm the storm among fighting employees.conflict

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, recently released survey findings showing how long chief financial officers (CFOs) spend resolving staff conflicts. How much time or how many days do you think CFOs spend on this issue? Surprisingly, respondents claim they spend about 15% (or 6 hours a week) of their time engaging in Conflict resolution.

In the survey, CFOs were asked, “What percentage of management time is wasted on resolving staff personality conflicts?” The results are as follows:

  • 25% of respondents spend 10% to 14% of their time on conflict resolution,
  • 22% spend 15% to 24%,
  • 15% spend 5% to 9%,
  • 13% spend 25% to 49%,
  • 9% spend less than 5%, and
  • 4% spend over 50% of their time managing conflicts.

“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, in a press release. “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 also offers four ways to handle work conflicts:

  1. 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.
  2. Act fast. Try to promptly handle the disagreement. Conflicts can disrupt others, so don’t let issues fester.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

How does your company compare? Do you fall in the 4% category and spend over 50% of your time breaking up fights? Or is your company relatively cordial in terms of conflict. We want to know! Share it in our comments section below, or e-mail us, and it could be featured in the next HRSBT!

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Melissa BlazejakMelissa Blazejak is a Senior Web Content Editor at BLR. She has written articles for and the HR Daily Advisor websites and is responsible for the day-to-day management of and She has been at BLR since 2014. She graduated with a BA of Science, specializing in Communication, from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2008. Most recently, she graduated in 2014 with a MS of Educational Technology.

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Constant Conflict? CFOs Claim to Clear Up Coworker Conflicts at Least 1 Day a Week


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