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On the downbeat

There is a sense of divisiveness in my department. There is far too much bickering and back-stabbing, and the Easter celebrations turned into a slanging match between two members of staff over something as trivial as unwashed coffee cups. The staffroom tension is depressing, and I think all this negativity is fostering a sense of hopelessness among staff. Is it too far-fetched to blame all the ills of my department on people being undervalued and underpaid?

Sounds like you need a titanic ice-breaker to turn things around, but I think you need an air of optimism too. If staff are unhappy, it will be reflected in their moods towards each other. Get them together and make them see how silly some of their grievances are, and make a big point of any real grievances. You may find that in those they share some common ground. I would try to build unity out of that. And if that means a few days on the picket line, why not?

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