Executives are spending a significant amount of their time keeping the peace between coworkers rather than focusing on business, says a new study.

The survey from specialized staffing service Accountemps reveals that CFOs spend, on average, 15 percent of their time managing staff conflicts—that’s six hours a week.

“The more time managers spend reducing friction between coworkers, the less time they have for tackling business priorities,” said Mike Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps.

Not every staff conflict needs to be handled by management, he added. “Employees who can properly handle conflict with tact and diplomacy are in a better position to assume leadership roles in the future.”

Here are some steps employees can take to help resolve coworker clashes on their own:

  • Make an effort to understand the situation from your coworker’s perspective.
  • Try to handle the disagreement quickly so the conflict doesn’t disrupt others.
  • If needed, ask a manager or human resources representative to mediate.
  • Once you’ve come to an agreement, make sure you and your colleague put the matter to rest.
  • Learn from the experience and discuss how you can avoid potential issues in the future.

Source: Accountemps