How to Deal with Employees Who Won’t Get Along

When two kindergarten kids get into a spat, teachers temporarily separate the children and know that if you give them a few minutes they’ll probably get over it. When two junior high school girls get into a spat, the whole world can come to an end and they will still hate each other and set out to destroy each other.

When two adults don’t get along in the same office, we hope that they are more like kindergarten children than 7th graders, but unfortunately, sometimes development was stuck at 13 and you’re in for a bumpy ride.

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4 thoughts on “How to Deal with Employees Who Won’t Get Along

  1. I had one of those 20 year almost no talking non-relationships. The reason is simple and there is no sarcasm in the following statement: he was, is and will always be an asshole. I documented issues and since he could not throw me under the bus he haaaated me. For his behavior I haaaated him.

    When I worked on a similar team to him he would constantly throw people who were not on his team under the bus and steal their work all the while showing how glorious he was to his own management. He got promoted several times in his career by his boss who every time he moved up, pulled asshole with him and his entire career he only ever reported to this one person until the end. I also was promoted several times and we always were at the same peer level. Once I was promoted higher than asshole who complained to his boss and within weeks he was promoted to the same level as me.

    After 20 years a new CEO combined our departments, giving the top job to asshole who immediately laid me off. People then told me how with this new exposure and finally a new boss, he was forced to show his true colors and left the company shortly thereafter.

    I saw asshole recently in a nonbusiness setting and gave a formal short acknowledgement greeting. He simply turned his head as though I didn’t exist. Good riddance.

  2. I do not believe management should intervene when two employees don’t get along until — and unless — the problem impacts performance or creates a hostile work environment, and then the approach should performance-focused. You don’t have to like someone to work successfully with them, but you do have to — at the least — be civil, cooperative and helpful in meeting the organization’s goals.

    1. I agree in concept but sometimes, especially if either management or company culture hasn’t been clear enough on how people should behave, they have to step in. My hope would be that an HR person with tact and reasonable people skills could suss out what the problem is and then help them to resolve it.
      Unfortunately, sometimes, people just don’t and/or won’t get along and the issue has to be forced. And unfortunately again, those people often have to be split up . . .

  3. Just a question. My new job is easily one of the cattiest, most high school cliquey places I’ve ever seen. I generally keep a low profile & avoid revealing too much at work so I’m avoiding getting ensnared with the nonsense. My main concern is that my 2 supervisors are participating in a lot of the malicious gossiping. I overhear conversations about setting other coworkers up in an attempt to fire them & I hear outright lies about people. I recently overheard some false story about me as a coworker tried to shift the blame on a mistayhe made. Nothing came of it & im not going to work myself up about it but I work in a hospital & I’m becoming concerned that staff/management gossip & plotting might take the place of the important work that we do. I know my one coworker is a drug addict but he is our union rep & the person who is privy to reports of concern. He also had a sexual relationship with our boss years ago & ive seen her cover up his mistakes. I am concerned & don’t know how much help HR or a higher up in our union would be. Any advice?

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