Dear Evil Skippy:
Do you have any advice for me as a supervisor for when news events disrupt the workplace? Two people who report to me are now mad at each other because of their different opinions about whether or not Kobe Bryant is a hero. Now they barely speak to one another and the whole workplace is tense. I don’t want to prohibit conversations about news events but I also don’t want a mini-war in the office. What would you do to calm down the situation?
I’d add Xanax to everyone’s coffee. (You, however, should not do that. The HIPPPPAAA and FDA implications are tremendous).
Next, I would try to get everyone focused on a new trendy topic. Like Coronavirus and whether anyone is feeling a little ill.
Your big problem here is you. You are a supervisor, so supervise. Tell your employees to shut up, grow up and start doing their jobs. They can get worked up about the news on their own time.
— Evil Skippy
When you address this matter with your agitated workers – and you better address it immediately – take pains to treat both employees in the same way. No matter what their opinion about Kobe Bryant might be, your employees need to treat each other with mutual respect. They don’t need to be friends and they do not need to actually respect one another, but they do have to behave respectfully. It is your job to make that expectation clear and then to make sure your employees conform to what you expect. If they don’t, it is time to take them for a ride on the Corrective Action Express.
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