Workplace Culture

What to Do When Your Team Turns Against You

November 7, 2018

As a manager, you know that you can’t always be best friends with your team. The nature of the manager–report relationship demands a certain decorum, a level of professional distance that makes true friendship almost impossible. Even so, it’s possible (not to mention preferable) to get along with the people on your team. You have to work with these people, and it’s easier on everyone if you all like each other, or at the very least all respect each other.

Sometimes, though, it might seem like your team has turned on you. You might know the feeling. Employees are not openly rude, but you can feel the tension. There are significant glances shared when you speak to the group. It might just be a little dose of paranoia, but maybe it isn’t, and your employees are starting to plot against you. Even if the mutineers are just a clique or subset of employees, it can still be difficult to effectively manage the whole team under these conditions.

Why would a team turn on its manager? There are many possible causes, and you might not even have done anything wrong, just something unpopular. You replaced the candy in the vending machines with apples; or you laid off the best-liked (albeit least productive) staff member; or you suddenly shifted everyone’s schedules around; or you got rid of the sofa in the break room. Now everyone’s muttering under their breath, and you’re worried that work might start to suffer.

What can you do, though? If your team’s behaviour hasn’t crossed the line or infringed any policies, then progressive discipline isn’t really an option, and it can be difficult to find a different strategy for confronting the soured relationship. This is especially challenging when their rebelliousness relates to workplace decisions out of your control.

Are you currently dealing with a discontented team or worried it could happen? Download our FREE Guide to Mending Manager–Employee Relationships, which includes suggestions that may help repair the breach and get you back underway to workplace harmony. How you handle team dynamics can have a major effect on the success of your team; this guide will explain how your actions can affect everyone and how to begin correcting those actions.

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