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Bring together sparring co-workers

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

If you have two great employees who don’t like each other, follow these tips:

Don’t let them tell on each other. That encourages them to tear each other down—and the conflict will continue. Instead, schedule a meeting with both employees.

Talk about the impact of their behavior. Is it upsetting other co-workers? Slowing progress on projects and decision making? Taking up too much of your time? Be specific about issues that you have observed or have been brought to your attention.

Set expectations. Tell them that it’s imperative the behavior stop because it is disrupting the team.

Hold them accountable. Explain that you want them to work out their differences, and ask if they feel equipped to work them out on their own. If they say “No,” you may need to bring in a mediator from HR or serve as one yourself. Also mention that while you can’t force them to be friends, you do expect them to work well together and take proper steps to put the conflict behind them.

Establish consequences. Say “You can refuse to resolve your issues. However, that is grounds for termination.” Be prepared to follow through.

— Adapted from “Employees Who Dislike Each Other,” Workplace Issues, www.workplaceissues.com.

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