I’ve written before about working with people you don’t like. But what happens if you’re the manager and your employees don’t get along. That’s the conundrum this manager faces.
I’ve been the manager at a restaurant and bar for about 5 years. The place used to have a “family” feel when it came to the employees – everyone took care of each other. Recently, some people left to go get their PHDs and the restaurant hired 4 new employees.
One of the newest employees is being singled out and the other bartenders and servers refuse to help her. This isn’t because of lack of effort on her part. Although she has made comments that she’s not here to make friends – she’s here to do a job.
That being said, we recently had one of the busiest nights ever. The other employees refused to help her and left her without doing their duties, stocking, cleaning, rolling silverware, etc. I’m so very frustrated at everyone refusing to help each other out. They are more concerned about their tips than they are in doing their job. HELP!
I know what it’s like to be around people who don’t get along. It’s not fun and can lead to creating a negative place not only for employees but customers. And sometimes, as a manager, you’re not sure whether you should get involved. Seriously, these are grown adults. In these situations, I’m reminded about a couple of things that help me decide the best approach.
At some point, you will work with someone you don’t like. Pure and simple. Maybe it’s just a little dislike or maybe you intensely can’t stand them. Possibly you were BFFs and became bitter enemies. Regardless of the reason, we all have to learn how to have a working relationship with people we don’t care for.
Even though you don’t like one (or all) of your co-workers, you still have to do your job. Because this is work and we were hired to get certain things done. Disliking someone is not a legitimate reason for not getting your work done. Unless of course, your dislike is because of their illegal, immoral or unethical behavior. If that’s the case, then you need to speak with someone about the illegal, immoral or unethical activity.
To the girl being singled out – you are absolutely right. You’re there to do a job. But if your demeanor creates a negative work environment, then you’re really not doing your job. Part of our role as employees is to enhance the workplace not take away from it.
To the other employees – If you can’t get past your dislike of someone, it might be time to face some realities. For example, take the situation above. Even if the singled out employee is acting like a jerk, everyone else isn’t getting their work done. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Who would you side with? The singled out employee who appears to be getting their work done and, to the best of our knowledge, doesn’t have any customer complaints OR the other employees who aren’t getting their work done and are refusing to help a co-worker.
To the manager – If employees are letting their feelings for one another impact their work, then management needs to address the issue. Why? Because it’s impacting the work. But be prepared to possibly hear that the singled out employee has done something to create the situation. Or that the group says the singled out employees isn’t a team player because the rest of them get along.
In my personal experience, it’s best to resolve these conflicts early. Find time to talk with the people involved. Ask the question, “How can we move past this?” Because “having a good working relationship is important”.
What do you think? Is there anything else this manager can do?1