I have a huge problem at my workplace for which I can't find a way to solve. Let me start by describing the job and my coworkers (who are part of the problem).
I am the new leader of a team of three people (plus me). You could desribe our workplace as a canteen and our task includes serving and cleaning. As a leader I do all that too and additionallly all the finances and paperwork.
The three coworkers are all much older (2-3 times) than me and have been working together.
One of them (let's call her Alice) has been (temporary) leader before I took the job over from her as complete newcomer. She did not want to do it in the first place and consented to my employment. Now she is a "regular" worker again. During her (and her predecessor's) leadership some of the regulations of our job have been ignored and she did not inform me about them when I took over (not knowing of them).
Betty, one of the other coworkers, seems to have had a quarrel with the third one (Cora) in the past and refuses to work on the same shift with her. None of the three will talk about it ("you better don't know"). So Betty will only work together with Alice which led to some sort of alliance between the two against Cora.
In general the morale seems to be very low. They don't enjoy their work and are in a bad mood most of the time. The payment is bad and we have to do unpaid overtime. There is too much to do and to few people. We don't have enough money to get more workers and we can't do less work because then we would lose the support money from our city office and must close down.
Betty is very unpredictable and kept her anger in until she shouted insults at me this week (because I made a mistake). I was so baffled by this that I could not react but stood there in silence. Later that day I wanted to clear things up in the office, apologized for my mistake and told her that her behavior and language was inaccaptable which lead to her shouting again (roughly: "I don't like how you always command me") and running out of the room ignoring me begging her to stay and talk about what happened.
The next day I talked to Alice about this (she overheard part of it) who told me Betty does not want to work shifts with me alone anymore.
Alice also told me that Betty is annoyed because
- I am doing some of the office work instead of cleaning up with her and that I am too slow with the office work (probably thinking that I want to avoid the cleanup work)
- I don't help her when I am around (although I offered her to do so and she declined several times)
- I got all the credits for good food (because I was waiting the tables and told them in the kitchen that the costumers were pleased)
Alice also said that she regrets having consented to my employment and that she believed I was not trusting her to encash. When I told her that she and Betty should have told me their problems earlier she replied that I am too young and unexperienced (I joined directly from university) and therefore they cannot talk to me. This also is a general problem as we don't share much topics to talk about. The age difference also makes it harder for me to integrate into the team and they seem to have problems to accept me as authority.
Alice also accused me of conspiring with Cora to drive Betty away. I think this is because I get along with Cora better than with Alice or Betty (who are friends).
Especially Alice's regret is pulling me down and I am thinking about leaving but it is very hard to find a job in my area.
- my coworkers hate their job
- some of my coworkers don't get along with each other
- some of my coworkers don't get along with me (and my age)
- one of my coworkers (Betty) became very abusive (but I can't afford firing her because she works honorary, we don't have any replacement and we are already short on staff)
- Betty told me once that she is working here to help (but she wants to do as little as possible)
- my coworkers won't talk to me about problems ("because of your age")
What should I do in this situation?
How can I improve morale?
How can I solve the shift plan issues arising from Betty's refusal to work with Cora (and me)?