Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The short answer to this question? NO

However, life is not lived by short answers and one can’t possibly expect to pursue a career in any field of work by not getting along with their co-workers. In the field of Security (and in this case Nightclub Security), getting along with your co-workers is of paramount importance. Your safety, your client’s safety, and your establishment’s safety all trump whatever interpersonal disagreements that you may have with your fellow employees. Speaking realistically, there will be people in your life or work that you don’t like or can’t stand to be around. So how does one handle this type of situation?

What is really bothering you?

Is it a co-worker or Manager? Is it a Patron? Is it a circumstance in which you find yourself? Is it a situation in which you put yourself? Is it a particular behavior by a particular person? Is the behavior directed at you only or at your co-workers as well? If it is a “behavioral” problem, is the behavior affecting you and how? And finally is it problematic or important enough to do something about?

How are you involved?

Take an objective and honest look at the “problem” Ask yourself (yes, it is difficult to ask yourself an honest, objective question…but please try) if you are somehow contributing to the problem with you reactions and behavior. Is it possible that you are actually part of the problem? “Don’t be ridiculous!” you say, “I am never part of the problem!” Really? Ask the opinion of somehow at work who you trust. Their response may surprise you.

Don’t make it about you.

Most people respond emotionally to a troublesome person. Try to keep in mind that someone else’s bad behavior is not necessarily directed at you or intended to be insulting. Personalizing the issue can sometimes make it worse.

Put yourself in their shoes.

When dealing with Trouble Patrons, it is important to try and empathize with them. The same goes for dealing with a bothersome co-worker. Sometimes knowing about someone’s personal or work situation can help you better relate to their behavior. Learning something about them can help you understand his or her perspective. It is easy to say, “Bob is always so rude!” Well, maybe Bob is in the middle of a divorce, has recently lost a member of his family, or is working multiple jobs to keep his family afloat. A little perspective can often go a very long way.

Be an adult.

Not matter the situation you find yourself in or how you want to respond to your troublesome co-worker or Boss, you must try to be as considerate, straightforward, and professional as possible. Take a deep breath, control your emotions as best you can, and work on improving your work relationships and your work performance. Sometimes leading by example can help others see the “correct” way of doing things.

Face the problem.

Sometimes the only solution is to face things head-on and talk to your co-worker. Let him or her know what you are experiencing and feeling. Let them think over things from your perspective. DO NOT be abrasive or go on the offensive. The point is to let your co-worker know that you want to improve your working relationship. People can be defensive when confronted, so be prepared to own up to any behavior on your part that may have contributed to any difficulties. By your being sincere and honest with your colleague, they can hopefully empathize with your position.

Increasing the intensity…

Sometimes a head-on solution is not productive. The other person may not be interested in what you have to say or may just be plain rude and unreachable. If this is the case, you need to let them know that while you prefer to resolve matters privately with him or her, you may have to take the issue to your Manager or Human Resources. Unfortunately, this is where things can become tense and awkward. Stick to your guns (perhaps not the best choice of words here, but you get what I’m trying to say) and don’t let a negative response from your co-worker dissuade you from taking action.

The Boss

In most cases, work-relationship issues will go directly to your Manager or Supervisor.  Your best course of action is to tell the boss your view of the situation as objectively, factually, and unemotionally as possible. This can be difficult if you have let the situation build for a while, but you must try. Otherwise, you may come across as a complainer or worse, as the actual troublemaker. Make sure to focus on the work consequences of the ongoing troublesome behavior. Unfortunately, the boss may be unwilling, unskilled, or not interested in dealing with “your” problem. If this is the case you can then consider taking the issue to Human Resources or possibly the Owner of your establishment. Keep in mind that escalation to this level can be a long process. And while no one wants to admit it, it can cause some serious ripples in the work place. This does not mean that you should not present your problems to your higher ups! But you must do it in as professional and patient a manner as possible.

But it’s the Boss!

What if the problem is actually your Boss? There is a good chance that he or she is not even aware that their behavior is affecting you and your work. Your approach to the Boss should be the same as with a co-worker, albeit with extreme tact and professionalism added. Ultimately, your Boss probably does want to hear from subordinates to want to have better work relationships so the can be happier, more productive workers.

Should your relationship with your Boss or co-workers be so strained that it has become unbearable, you may want to consider a work transfer. In this day and age, this is easier said than done, but it could be the only solution.

You may – and probably won’t – get along with everyone, but you have nothing to lose by trying.

Until next time…

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