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How to protect your business from quarrelling employees.

I am a fan of MotoGP and am watching the antics in the run up to the end of the championship this weekend with much amusement.

Increasing tensions across the garage between former champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo must be becoming a bit of a headache for Yamaha boss, Lin Jarvis.

For the uninitiated, let me explain…Valentino Rossi was (prior to the last round) leading the championship by a mere 11 points. He had, what we shall call a “coming together” with Honda rider Marc Marquez which knocked him off his bike. Rossi’s behaviour was deemed unsportsmanlike. Unlike punishments handed out for similar incidents in the past, he was not docked points or positions. Instead he is to start from the back of the grid for this week’s final race.

His team mate, and nearest competitor, Lorenzo then said some things to camera about Rossi that Yamaha would probably rather he hadn’t.

While this situation is rather more dramatic than most office workplace politics, the underlying point is the same: colleagues who are meant to work for the collective interest can cause significant issues for business when competing interests rear their head. This can affect the business’s reputation and bottom line. What customer will negotiate an internal minefield in order to get their work done?

So what could Yamaha (and you) do in similar circumstances?

1. First, try an informal approach. Speak to both employees separately. Try to establish what has caused the bad blood. One may feel (s)he is not being given credit for their work because the other is “stealing their thunder” or sales commission is being given to one employee at the expense of the other. In this scenario you may need to address the root cause as a wider issue. Are employees aware of how the business recognises their contribution?serious discussion

2. If this is unsuccessful then you will need to try a more formal approach. Invite each employee to a meeting and address your concerns. You need to explain clearly why you consider that their behaviour is jeopardising the business and that it is preventing them from carrying out their job properly. Ensure that you have a disciplinary procedure in place and make sure you follow it.

3. If neither the informal discussion nor the formal verbal and written warnings have been heeded then you need to take further advice. Is it now appropriate to take disciplinary action and/or dismiss the employees? Care needs to be taken. Ensure that you follow your disciplinary procedures carefully and seek specialist help.

Let us hope for Yamaha’s sake that they will not require step 3!

If you would like some further advice on protecting your business against the damage that can be caused by feuding employees please contact me, Kelly Craig, or Julie Sullivan or call on 01383 721 621.

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