Although no method is fail-proof when it comes to employee disputes, according to the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, this four-step plan used by family counselors might be helpful when confronting bad behavior. It also removes you from the “Solomon” role of deciding who is right and who is wrong.

  • Step 1: Confront the behavior by calling the two employees into your office. Tell them how unhappy you are about their behavior and that you expect them to turn things around.
  • Step 2: Talk it out. Remind them that they are professionals and you expect them to listen to each other, not interrupt and to work out a solution. Ask one to explain his/her issues. When the first employee finishes, reverse their roles. Keep in mind that it is more difficult to misrepresent things when an outside party is listening.
  • Step 3: Once you have heard both employees out, express your confidence in them to develop a plan to work together from this point on. Give them two days to develop this plan, and then make an appointment with them to tell you how they plan to turn things around.
  • Step 4: After meeting with both employees together during the follow-up meeting, hold short weekly “check-ins” to ask each employee, in front of the other, how things are going. This holds both accountable for the new behavior and you don’t have to police the situation. Gradually phase out the appointments as the new, positive behavior takes hold. Reward and reinforce the new behavior by acknowledging the employees on their hard work and the good example they are setting for the rest of the staff.