Conflict at work is becoming more common – and adding to managers’ already full plates, according to a Myers-Briggs Conflict at Work study, released Oct. 18.
Over a third of those surveyed said they deal with conflict at work often, very often, or all the time, compared to 29% who said the same in the company’s 2008 study. And on average, managers spend four hours a week dealing with conflict, John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, explained in a statement.
The top cause of conflict was poor communication, though conflict looked different for in-office, hybrid and remote workers. In-office workers were more likely to say that poor communication caused conflict at work compared to hybrid or fully remote workers; but those working hybrid schedules were more likely to say a lack of transparency underpinned most conflicts compared to others.
With midterms just around the corner, conflict may be top of mind for HR managers — but employees have made it clear that they would prefer not to talk about politics at work, according to an Insight Global survey. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they were worried midterms would worsen tension at work.
What is HR to do? While a manager may be the prime person to handle most employee conflicts, there are four specific scenarios where HR’s intervention may be for the best, one expert previously wrote for HR Dive:
- When employees aren’t seeing eye to eye and managers are at a loss, HR can help.
- When employees are in conflict and one feels a manager prefers the other over them, HR should mediate.
- When the conflict directly involves the manager, HR can serve as a neutral voice of reason to help the employees figure out next steps and engage the manager in resolution.
- When there’s a serious concern about bias or that someone is playing favorites.