Ever have a dilemma in your office where two employees are having a clash? Where you trust both of them? Where they have conflicting stories and positions on an issue? Where they cannot get along with each other? Where you have no idea how to resolve the issue?
A few times in my career I have come across this phenomenon. It’s tough when you trust, respect and believe both parties but it is one person’s word against the other. Often there is a “blame game” going on, and the two parties cannot work together so one must go. How does one get to the bottom of the issues and do what is right for the company and those individuals?
A) Stick to the facts and how performance is delivered. In one instance I spent about 8 hours reviewing the details of job expectations and actual job outputs of each individual. It became clear that one of the two individuals was talking a good story, but did not actually complete all the detailed job requirements nor fully understand what was required or why it was important. We were then able to deal with the issue as a performance problem. In the end, that particular individual resigned the day before their formal performance review.
B) If you cannot identify the root cause after investigation, ask yourself: “which one of these people can I NOT afford to lose?”. Turns out the person who left in (a) above was newer to the company and had had a few minor personality clashes with others (all those stories came out of the woodwork after they left the business, of course). The person who remained had demonstrated impeccable results for many years and had one of the highest job standards and work ethic levels I have ever seen. If they had left, there would have been a huge loss in my department.
In times of dilemma, weigh the two alternatives in your mind, and usually the highest risk alternative will “pop out” and give you the right gut answer.