Why Your Manager Doesn't Like You and What You Can Do About It
If you get the feeling your manager is not your biggest fan, it could be because you don't play well with others. In a recent survey, managers said they waste, on average, 18 percent of their time intervening in employee disputes. When you break it down, that comes out to be more than seven hours a week or nine weeks per year.
For the new Accountemps survey, managers were asked, "What percentage of management time is wasted resolving staff personality conflicts?" The mean response was 18 percent. If 18 percent of a manager's time is spent handling employee disputes, could that mean that 18 percent of employees' time is spent disputing?
"Although staff management is part of the job for supervisors, too much time spent handling disputes gets in the way of business priorities and often signals a larger issue needs to be addressed," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of 'Human Resources Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition.' "For example, being chronically short-staffed can cause friction among employees, as can an overly competitive work environment."
Messmer added that "workplace conflicts can never be fully eliminated, but there are steps managers can take to foster greater team harmony." But it's not just the managers who should settle conflicts -- all employees can support their managers and help minimize workplace disputes if they:
1. Know when to step in. You don't want to interject every time a minor issue arises, but you can't afford to turn a blind eye to problems that jeopardize your group's productivity. Before morale and output are impaired, work with those involved to identify the reason for the conflict, clear the air and figure out ways to address future disagreements.
2. Don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch. When friction is clearly stemming from the actions of a single individual, remind that person that the ability to collaborate and treat coworkers with respect is a requirement of the job. Above all, don't make others pay for the actions of one disruptive element.
3. Help co-workers get to know each other. Provide opportunities for your staff to interact in non-work activities, such as lunches, recognition of personal accomplishments (mini-celebrations) or volunteer activities; familiarity can breed greater understanding. But try not to look askance at anyone who doesn't participate -- you never know what's going on in their lives outside of work.
4. Reward positive role models. Liberally give praise, promotions and choice assignments to individuals who contribute to a supportive work environment. Recognizing staff for being team players sends a clear message that how they interact with others is as important as their job performance.
5. Set an example. Whether you're doing the managing or being managed, take a step back and look at the kind of tone you're setting. Are you defensive? Do you feel as if others are trying to cheat you or stab you in the back? Do you have a desire to get ahead, regardless of how it affects others? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, you might be more of a problem than a solution.
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