Q: My boss’s wife recently decided to join the family business. “Margaret” now works in our office four days a week doing some of the accounting. She is rude to everyone and has made absolutely no effort to get to know us.
Margaret is constantly looking for reasons to criticize our work. If we are not in the office to hear her complaints, she will leave nasty notes on our desks. When we try to explain our systems and procedures, Margaret refuses to listen. Then she comes up with new ways of doing things that are a complete waste of time.
We have all tried to be polite and professional with Margaret, but her constant interference has made our working environment very unpleasant. Our boss has always been a really nice guy, so we can’t imagine that he condones this behavior. Some of us have begun looking for other jobs. Do you have any advice?
A: If Margaret’s ongoing aggravation begins driving away employees, your really nice boss may eventually find himself with an empty office. Therefore, you would be doing him a favor to make him aware of this problem. Criticizing Margaret is not without risk, however, since his natural inclination may be to defend his wife.
Since all of you seem to share these concerns, the safest course is to meet with your boss as a group. If everyone expresses the same opinion, he will find it harder to deny the problem. But if you want him to listen, you must describe the business issue without any personal attacks.
For example: “We really appreciate the effort Margaret is making to take on some of our accounting tasks. However, she has begun changing office procedures without understanding how the process works. She also seems very unhappy with us, and we find it difficult to communicate with her. How should we handle this?”
Hopefully, your boss will pay attention and begin to rectify the situation. But if Margaret continues her witchy ways, you may want to start ramping up your job search.