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Managers spend a lot of time on co-worker disputes

March 31, 2011 at 9:46 AM ET

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Here's a reason to have sympathy for your managers: They may well be spending nearly 20 percent of their time dealing with the fact that their employees can't play nice.

A new survey from Accountemps asked managers the – admittedly somewhat biased – question: "What percentage of management time is wasted resolving staff personality conflicts?"

The mean answer: 18 percent.

To put that in perspective, if your boss is working a 40-hour week he or she is spending more than seven of those hours on personality conflicts among employees.

This isn't a new phenomenon. Accountemps, a financial services staffing firm, said it's gotten similar results in past studies on the same topic.

Obviously part of a manager's job is to resolve personality conflicts. And yet, let's hope the boss isn't spending all their time intervening over who left their dirty dishes in the break room sink and who drank the last cup of coffee and didn't make a new pot.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,000 senior managers at companies that have 20 or more workers.

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