Real Talk: Two of My Direct Reports Hate Each Other — What Do I Do?

Women at work


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866

At times, being in an office can feel a bit like high school. There may be fighting, drama, and overall animosity, which can cause issues and change the overall workplace feel for everyone involved. No one wants this (obviously), but sometimes it can't be prevented. So, what do you do when this happens to you? One FGB'er reached out to the FGB Community to ask just that:

Several other FGB'ers reached out to give their advice and opinions on the matter. 

First, don’t expect all of your employees to get along.

If the behavior is damaging your team's ability to work, schedule a one-on-one meeting with each of the employees.

 By giving each employee a safe and private space to speak openly about their concerns, they are more likely to address the issue. And you are more likely to be able to come up with a solution. Is the problem fixable? Do you need to bring the two together? Should you get HR involved? Is the drama unnecessary? Or is there a serious offense occurring in your workplace? All of these questions should be answered with a productive one-on-one. 

Then, set clear expectations. 

You are the boss and you make the rules. You should not have to deal with unnecessary animosity that may be causing issues with your team and the company. While you want to intervene on this seemingly toxic relationship, you should also let them know you expect professionalism at all times. 

If you can't get to the root of the problem, talk to the other members of your team.

As this anonymous poster pointed out, the individuals at odds may not be completely honest with you during your one-on-one discussions. Because you are the boss, there may be certain things they do not wish to share. Maybe they have played a part in the friction and do not wish to admit to it. Maybe they are afraid they will be reprimanded for causing issues in the office. It is important to speak to the other team members and gather all the information you can. Also, if one person acted in an inappropriate way, and the other is afraid to say so, another team member might be the one to speak up. As they are not involved directly. 

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For all work, career and lifestyle questions, consult the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from other FGB'ers.