How much time do managers spend on Conflict?

Survey Results and Management Tips

Surveys by many different groups across the years indicate that managers spend 10%-26% of their time managing conflict in the workplace. As an average, this accounts for a full day each week!

Table 1 Accounttemps* CPP** CIPD*** Total Average
Time spent on resolving conflict 18% 26% 9% 18%


As disturbing as these numbers may appear, there is an underlying concern not clearly revealed by these numbers.

Nearly 6% of managers who successfully brought conflict to a resolution report that it taking over 10 days to resolve their recent situation. Add this to the fact that nearly half of the managers dealing with conflict report that its having a negative impact on productivity within their organization.

These alarming numbers make us quickly realize that conflict is both costly and long-lasting.  Since ignoring workplace conflict only allows it to prolong lost productivity, our only viable option is to manage the conflict quickly and effectively. Better yet, learn how to identify its early signs and prevent it altogether.

Here are some tips

  • Learn how the interaction between different personalities contributes to conflict.
  • Train managers and staff to identify the sources of conflict.
  • When the early signs of conflict appear, act quickly to prevent its escalation.
  • When conflict happens, help individuals see how they can use their personality strengths.

Workplace Violence

About 3 of every 10 employees are victimized at work

A recent report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a section of the US Department of Justice, indicates that a high number of employees in the private sector report being victimized by people they work with.

Over 28% of men and nearly 40% of women report being victims of violence by a relationship at work, such as a customer, a patient, a supervisor, an employee or a peer.  Out of all of these, Coworker violence frequency appears to rate the highest.Coworker violence continues to be a concern in the workplace. Not only is it disruptive to the workplace and people’s lives in the short-term, its effects on productivity and on staff’s motivation can be long-lasting.

To keep employees engaged in the workplace we need to take measures to curb these trends in workplace violence, and the first step is prevention. One of the keys to prevention is educating staff to recognize and prevent triggers that can lead to violence.

To assess your readiness to prevent violence at work, ask yourself

What steps are being taking in my organization to prevent violence in the workplace?
When was the last time I took a conflict management course?
When was the last time our  team discussed how to handle difficult people at work?
Can I identify key triggers to most conflict situations?
If your answers to these questions concern you, we invite you to attend our premier webinar

Managing Conflict: Personality Types in the Workplace

Managing Conflict: How Managers Learn Their Skills

In our Learning4Managers Survey we asked managers how they learned to manage conflict. The majority of them, to the tune of 38%, indicated having learned this skill On the job at a previous job. This answer was followed by 34% who claim to have been Self-taught.  On the job at a current job was the next highest ranking choice at 16% and finally In school ranked last at at 12%.

It is worth noting that no manager considered this skill Not Applicable in the survey, which underlines the importance to know how to deal with conflict in today’s workplace.

What raises concern is that at least three of every ten managers learned claim to be self-taught. This implies they do not count with the support of formal training in the topic, and may be exposing themselves and their organizations to serious consequences.  

Managing Conflict 2013

Leaders and managers come into conflict situations almost daily. The conflict can be with superiors, peers, with those they supervise and with vendors and clients. If these conflict situations are not well managed, they can easily escalate into more serious matters.

An argument between a manager and a Vice President can lead to ongoing resentments and loss of productivity. A feud between departments can lead to lost productivity.  Workplace bullying can lead to low motivation and frustration. A disgruntled employee or customer might escalate the issue into a full blown fight, and put the entire organization in the midst of a legal battle. In the worst case scenarios we have seen in the news acts of unbelievable violence sometimes caused by poor conflict management skills.

If managers are not sufficiently prepared to manage these situations, or are left to their own resources (and three out of ten indicate they are), we are putting our organizations and the people in them at risk.

In today’s business world we cannot afford not to provide sufficient support to our managers, particularly when it comes to conflict training. We encourage leaders and managers alike to investigate internally how their staff learned to deal with conflict, and to establish comprehensive training as well as policies to promote a productive and healthy work environment.

If you are interested in learning more about conflict resolution, attend our Conflict Management Webinar on May 22. Register now and get a full report with the results of our entire survey. Space to the Webinar is limited, Register Today.


Managing Conflict in the Workplace

We continue our series of reports based on the ongoing Learning4Managers Survey: Learning Competencies for Supervisors and Managers.

Year after year we hear about the increase of bullying behaviors and conflict in the workplace. Still few managers receive any formal training on the managing conflict in the workplace.

The survey results show that only 13% of responding managers learned how to deal with conflict as part of their formal education. The same number learned to deal with conflict while employed at their current job. Does this make you wonder if companies assume that experienced managers should come with this skill as part of their portfolio? To participate on our ongoing confidential survey please follow this link: SURVEY

Most managers told us they learned conflict management skills at their previous job (39%), and almost as many told us they were self-taught (34.7%). Once again, we emphasize that there is little evidence of a formal training process at stake here. As a matter of fact, with so few managers receiving formal training in school in this subject matter, it is hard to believe there is any standardized training taking place.

The results imply that managers today are approaching the matter in the same way managers have done for years: doing the best they can without formal support, training, or standard methods. This approach can lead to serious problems at work. With nothing but anecdotal information to go by, managers may be unknowingly fostering or ignoring ongoing conflict which could escalate into bullying or violence.

We strongly suggest that you take a look at your management practices and establish not just policies and procedures to prevent conflict at work, but develop training that supports you and your staff on how to manage conflict in healthy ways. In a few weeks, after we complete our series of reports on our managers survey results, we’ll address some best practices you can implement to manage conflict and train your staff.

Contact us for assistance and training on how to manage conflict in healthy ways at work.