I was recently presented with this question. Although it is from an auto dealer, the principle lesson inside of my response is applicable to any industry. Regardless as to whether you are the boss or the subordinate, this answer will equip you with what a solution to solve many work conflicts. Also, I would be curious as to how you would handle this situation, so please feel free to comment below.
I manage a car dealership. I have a very well established Service Adviser that has been on the drive for over 13 years (Service Adviser is the person that helps you when you pull your car into the service area at a car dealership). Month in and month out he is our best producer. He does a great job with customers and is also “Green” in C.S.I. 99% of the time (this means he is good). Overall he is a great Service Adviser with the exception that he is periodically outspoken against the Service Manager (his boss) and insists on not following the new process put in place. Due to his tenure and demeanor, naturally the other Service Advisors defer to him and he is able to control the drive. What should I do? Would you insist he follows the new process, or due to his above-average performance is he exempt from the new process?
If you create two sets of rules, then your new plan is D.O.A. and you will lose the respect of everyone. You and this Service Adviser need to come together and discuss his way and your new way. You should debate all of the points of the new plan honestly. It is important that you open the door to the fact that you might be wrong as you enter the debate. Challenge the Service Adviser to show why his way is better. His current “way” might be hitting on all the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), but will that get you to where you need to be. Perhaps the current standards are too low. The car biz is tough and getting tougher. Sales are predicted to be down in 2019 and margins on new car sales are razor thin (if any). Business, as usual, is no longer an option in the auto biz (or any business). Once the debate is over, you, as the boss, should consider everything you’ve heard and then make a final decision. Then get the Service Adviser back into a meeting and explain in detail your decision. “Because I said so” is not something a good boss uses to motivate or change a subordinate’s behavior. Perhaps you might even come to an agreement that in 3-weeks, or 3-months, you will all get together again and discuss what is working and not working. However, the absolute key component to this conversation is that you explain and make crystal clear that there can be no “agree to disagree” outcome. Either he is totally aligned and committed to this decided direction, or he is not. If he then chooses to stay unaligned either he goes or you go. Why? Because ultimately the friction between the two of you will force your good performers to leave and your marginal performers to pick sides and you will all fail. So, guess what? It’s time for you to be the boss. Earn your pay and job title. Never forget that Alignment between all in the workplace is one trait all happy and healthy workplaces have in common. Oh, and more thing I forgot to mention above. Be sure to include this Service Advisers boss (the Service Manager), in the conversation. The problem might be the Service Manager, or just the relationship between these two, and not your new plan. This question must be answered.
If you have any questions about the workplace, feel free to shoot them my way. I’ll give you my take on the situation.
The workplace can become a real adventure at times. So with that, Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life.
PS – My email address is Chris@ChrisPruitt.com.
PPS – Yeah, I bought my own domain name back in 1995 or so right after Al Gore invented the Internet. I thought there might be something to his new “Internet” thingy.
PPPS – Smart enough to buy my own domain, but not smart enough to buy Google stock. However, I did buy some Apple last week when it tanked.