That’s why you make the big bucks, essentially.

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Q: I supervise a group of people who argue constantly and seem to look for things to get upset about. On any given day, one or two of them will be angry with all the others. My newest employee has turned out to be a pouter who stops speaking for days at a time.

This ongoing drama not only disrupts office tranquillity but also interferes with my ability to concentrate. Someone is always dropping by my office to tattle or complain. I would like to put an end to this chaos and finally get some peace, but I don’t know how. As a nonconfrontational person, I have trouble dealing with situations like this. Can you help?

A: Having accepted a supervisory position, you are obligated to perform necessary management tasks, even when they feel uncomfortable. Therefore, despite being “nonconfrontational,” you must still demonstrate leadership by addressing these serious performance issues.

Gather up your squabbling staff members, firmly inform them that the drama must end, and describe exactly how professional adults are expected to behave. Explain that they don’t have to like each other, but they must be consistently pleasant and cooperative. This means no bickering, griping, pouting or tattling.

Because entrenched behaviors seldom disappear overnight, you should view this as an ongoing coaching project. If you overhear silly quarrels, immediately nip them in the bud. When employees come with trivial complaints, explain that they must let them go. And if some people are unwilling to change, you should begin the termination process.

Should you find that you are simply not up to this assignment, you may want to reconsider your management career. To become an effective supervisor, you must be willing to do the tough stuff.