Opinion | by Bill Collier, Area Coach, The Great Game of Business | 01/20/2010
" ... An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known. But the traitor ... rots the soul of a nation, he works ... to undermine the pillars of the city ..."
— Cicero, 42 B.C.
The quote above is more than two millennia old and referred to the political leaders of the time. But the message is applicable to today's businesses. Here's an employee attitude that inflicts damage on businesses: People who exhibit many fine traits and who may be good employees in general, but who have acquired a dislike for one of more of their fellow workers.
Ever experienced this? Most of us have. Maybe it's at work in your company. Poor relationships between employees can be a tough nut to crack.
Frequently, some of these folks are more concerned with winning the battle than winning the war. They may not be "traitors"- as referenced in Cicero's quote - in that their goal isn't to intentionally undermine the business, but they might as well be. The impact is the
In my own businesses, I've had employees who didn't get along and it affected the operation. In each case, my solution was simple and straightforward: "I can't force you to like each other. But I absolutely insist you treat each other cordially, respectfully and professionally. It's not optional. If you can't do that, then one or both of you must leave."
This gets especially sticky in a family business, when family members are the ones who can't get along. Sometimes, the parties involved have an ownership stake. Hence the importance of a shareholder agreement, sort of a "pre-nup" for
If you've got dueling employees, consider:
These are CHOICES you have to make. If some of the offending parties are owners, some growing up may be in order. Here's a message for them:
One of my favorite speakers, Jim Rohn, says: "Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons." If you can't discipline yourself to reduce the turmoil, regret will surely follow.
"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you."