August 2nd, 2016

HR Tip: How to Help Employees Get Along

At the Republican National Convention, Ted Cruz took the stage and was unwilling to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican Nominee for President. “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he commented. Attendees at the convention had mixed responses, some calling Cruz “selfish” in his decision to decline endorsement.

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While office politics don’t typically take the National stage, Cruz’s dislike of Trump, now the official Republican Nominee for President, can be compared to the common challenge of working alongside someone you simply can’t stand. So, what’s the best way to deal with a workforce that may not always get along? How do you manage these hurdles to workplace peace?

1. Advise against gossip.

Gossip is a poisonous workplace habit that destroys everything in its wake. Advise those working for your organization to avoid it altogether. It can be nearly irresistible for some to share in their dislike of a colleague with someone else – but to help them avoid the temptation, suggest they take the high road. Those who fall into a trap of side comments and negative talk about another employee are often cast in a light just as negative as the gossip, if not worse. This can greatly impact their professional image and only add fuel to the fire. So it’s best they know that gossip doesn’t benefit anyone, themselves included.

2. If they can’t beat it, change their mindset.

When dealing with workplace foes, the avoiding game is a luxury that can certainly be successful when possible. But sometimes, those under your charge will be forced to work alongside someone and drive results despite their frustration with them. When this time comes, it’s key to keep dislikes at bay — which can be very difficult, as people respond to unspoken language (like posture and facial expression) more than actual words at times. Challenge employees to step into a completely new mindset when they interact; task them with the idea that they’re someone else if they have to – someone who happens to be friends with the individual.

3. Get them acquainted 

As counterintuitive as it sounds, spending time with someone you don’t like is a great way to stop disliking them as much. Task the employees with learning at least three things they like about the individual. The more time they learn about their “foe,” the more likely they are to understand them: their motivations, their own personal challenges, and what they may have in common. Building empathy in an unlikely situation is an excellent tool to sharpen in the workplace and will undoubtedly come in handy over the years.

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