How to deal with employees who don’t get along

By Insperity

Any business will have employees who don’t get along from time to time. Whether it’s because of differences in their personalities, lifestyles, opinions or some other factor, sometimes employees just don’t mesh.

And when there’s discord in the workplace, it affects everybody.

The resulting tension not only makes the office environment uncomfortable – it can also negatively impact your business’s productivity.

At the same time, the old saying that iron sharpens iron represents the upside of the situation. Handled constructively, employee conflict can lead to healthy competition, process improvements, innovation and enhanced creativity.

Here are some tips to help you tactfully turn conflict into consensus between feuding employees.

Step 1. Understand the nature of the conflict

It’s often tempting to make assumptions about conflict, especially if rumors are circulating. But don’t assume anything. Instead, figure out what’s fueling the disagreement between your employees.

First and foremost, make sure you’re not dealing with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issue, such as workplace harassment or discrimination. Become familiar with your company’s harassment prevention polices and guidelines, if you aren’t already. And if you don’t have these types of policies currently in place, make that a priority.

Remember, with harassment, it’s not the intent of the behavior but how the behavior is perceived.

Once you’ve ruled out any EEOC issues, what are some other underlying circumstances that may be causing or worsening the conflict? Are there clashing work styles at play? Is it a high-stress environment? Is a new project creating tight deadlines? What about a difficult client? Are some employees spreading gossip or bullying coworkers?

There may be a variety of factors causing hostility among your employees. Getting an initial read on what’s at the heart of the matter is essential to successfully resolving the issue and avoiding future conflict.

Step 2. Encourage employees to work it out themselves

As a business leader, you want your employees to be as self-sufficient as possible. After all, you’re their supervisor or manager – not their mother.

Keep in mind that reacting to every worker complaint may actually heighten the drama and make the situation worse. Doing so could even cause some employees to think you’re playing favorites.

That doesn’t mean that encouraging your team to manage issues on their own won’t require a little facilitating on your part, especially if you have employees who tend to avoid confrontation.

Provide guidance or talking points, if needed, to help each employee approach the other person in a positive manner. Don’t set the expectation that you’ll fix the problem for them. You can facilitate the discussion, but that’s where you should draw the line.

Always use your best judgment when it comes to addressing employee complaints. Consider taking a structured approach like this one:

  • Determine whether the situation is emotionally charged and define the severity of the conflict.
  • Once you’ve assessed the issue, if appropriate, talk to each employee individually to let them know you’re aware of the situation.
  • Then, encourage open communication and resolution among the employees involved. Ask them if they feel comfortable going to the other employee and handling it one-on-one.

When people work together, disagreements will occasionally happen. That’s a given. But disrespect is another story.

Employees who don’t get along should still treat each other with respect and make an effort to listen to the other person’s side. Using words such as “I feel” (instead of “you did”) can also help prevent the conversation from becoming defensive.

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Your Weekend Has 60 Hours–Here’s How To Wring The Most Out Of Them


Weekends always seem to go quickly, but they’re longer than we think. There are 60 hours between that 6 p.m. Friday beer and that 6 a.m. Monday alarm clock. Even if you sleep for 24 of those hours, that leaves 36 waking ones. That’s plenty of time for fun, relaxation and more importantly, recharging the batteries. In our competitive world, successful people know that great weekends are the secret to workday success. You want weekends that leave you refreshed, not exhausted or disappointed, so you can hit Monday ready to go.

Here are 10 tips for making the most of your days off:

1. Do make a plan. We’re all busy. When we hit the weekend, we think we want to do “nothing.” But it’s impossible to truly do nothing. Instead, you’ll do unconsciously chosen somethings, and you’ll hit Sunday wondering where the time went. As children staring at wrapped Christmas presents know, anticipation accounts for much of the pleasure we derive from any experience. So make a plan for how you want to spend the weekend and–even if all goes wrong in the moment–you’ll still derive pleasure from anticipating your fun.

2. Don’t fill every minute. Just because you’ve got a plan doesn’t mean the weekends need to look like your weekdays, scheduled in 15-minute increments. Three to five “anchor” events–things you look forward to–can make for an excellent weekend. Go for a run, volunteer at a local food bank, and have dinner with friends and you’ll have done plenty.

3. Do stretch yourself occasionally. Weekends are great for exploring. Make a bucket list of activities you’d like to try within a two-hour radius of your house. Maybe it’s biking along the boardwalk. Maybe it’s camping in a nearby park. Whatever it is, remember that life can’t just happen on vacations, so invite in some serendipity.

4. Don’t forget to exercise. One famous study of Texas women’s days found that–after sex, eating, and relaxing–they were happiest when exercising, socializing, and engaging in spiritual activities. Why not aim for anchor events in all three categories?

5. Do schedule downtime. In our distracted world, we have a tendency to putter around the house, turn on the TV, check email and otherwise fill time with things that don’t really relax us. If you want to take a nap on Sunday afternoon, figure out when that’s going to happen, if there are any logistical issues you need to solve, and then commit to doing it.

6. Don’t give in to the Sunday-night blues. Even if you like your job, it’s easy to feel weary by Sunday afternoon as you think about the next morning’s commute. One way around that? Schedule something fun for Sunday night. Knowing you’ve got a potluck dinner or a massage session coming up extends the weekend by keeping your mind focused on the fun to come.

7. Do make the most of other people’s schedules. Read a novel instead of checking your email while waiting to pick up your 8-year-old at swim practice. If your spouse has a time-consuming hobby–like one that requires you to supply sports drinks at the 10-mile mark on her long run–make sure to combine it with something fun for you (catching a movie at a nearby theater?).

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