How to Intervene When Two Employees Can’t Get Along

So, I was out for dinner with my husband the other day and despite the great decor of the restaurant and the fun atmosphere, something was definitely awry.

To be honest, the service wasn’t great and the food wasn’t great either. However, it was also obvious that two of the wait staff were not getting along. The tension was palpable and definitely uncomfortable for my husband and I, if not some of the other patrons. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t yelling at each other (all though I have heard fights from the kitchen in other restaurants #GordonRamsay), but the body language and facial expressions were enough to say it all.

No matter the size of your Business, sometimes your staff just won’t get along. What do you do if difficulties between staff are turning your business toxic? Like it or not, the best solution is usually intervention. Here are a couple of ideas that might help:

  • Meet one-on-one with each of the employees. Explain you have noticed the tension and ask them to share their side of the story. Explain how the issue is affecting their work, that of their co-workers and your customers.
  • Approach co-workers. If you are unable to find out directly what the issue is, co-workers will usually be very willing to cooperate with you.
  • Talk to the involved parties together and help them try to find common ground. Try to find out what the original source of the problem was and try to get them to talk. The goal is to get one or both to apologize. Let them know that they can come to you any time for guidance.
  • Create a plan that will help them focus more on their jobs, rather than their grievances. If the grievance was job related, you may need to modify their roles.
  • Keep ongoing tabs on the employees. After several days, follow up with both the employees and their coworkers to see if the situation is resolved. If the situation has not resolved, you will need to talk to them again and point out the consequences that may arise if the problem continues.

Finally, if the problem continues and you wish to keep the employees then you may need to separate them. All of this requires that you get some professional advice. A misstep could be costly.


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