Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I was recently hired as Custodial Supervisor, which is a newly created position since the addition of more county buildings and more staff. Three other custodians already within the system applied and were interviewed, but due to my previous experience (32 years) I was chosen. I feel the friction when around these custodians. What is the best approach on this situation?k


I get the impression that you came into this job from outside the system and aren’t known by the others who have been with the county for a while. If this is the case, allow some time to pass so you can demonstrate your ability to be a fair and competent supervisor. While a lot of good custodians may wish to “move up” to supervision, many are not well suited to that job and, after promotion, may wish they were back on the line. Those doing the choosing may have sensed this with the ones who were bypassed.
Your record of solid leadership may, in time, offset the natural resentment you may be sensing now.
If the friction you are now experiencing does not dissipate, you may have to take direct action and meet with those who persist in holding a bad spirit. They need to understand that:
1) Your selection over theirs was done by your superiors and not by you.
2) You have a job to do and you need their support and cooperation to do it.
3) Working together is in everyone’s best interest.
4) If they cannot willing contribute to the county’s welfare they should consider other employment.
This review should be enough, but the next step would be to fire the resisters as insubordinate and destructive to the work environment. Given today’s employment challenges and the job market, I doubt anyone with good sense will persist in conduct and attitude displays that endanger their income.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor