'Office ghouls' don't strike only on Halloween

Survey shows managers have their hands full resolving staff personality conflicts
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/10/2006

Ghosts and goblins who traditionally make their appearance on October 31 may have office counterparts whose behaviours bedevil their managers throughout the year. Executives in Canada and the United States polled in recent surveys said that almost one fifth of managers' time – or more than seven hours each week – is spent sorting out personality conflicts among staff members.

The polls, conducted on behalf of temporary staffing service Accountemps, include responses from 100 Canadian and 150 U.S. senior executives – including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments. They were asked, "What percentage of management time is wasted resolving staff personality conflicts?" The mean response in Canada was 20 per cent, followed closely by 18 per cent in the United States.

While some personality conflicts are serious in nature, even small disagreements can cause friction. Managers can reduce office disharmony by being aware of employees with habits that disrupt productivity and nipping problems in the bud.