Having at least one business partner is often a wise strategy, as this can essentially halve one your workload, as well as giving you access to a broader range of skills and competencies.
However, if success gets to one partner’s head, decisions may be made that negatively impact the business.
Speaking on the My Business Podcast, Norgay HR Consulting’s Clare Long suggests that if employees are leaving in droves or a particular strategy is not working, it is important to reflect on yourself as a business owner and leader to see if your actions have been pushing staff away.
“If the data's telling you that people are turning over in your business, you have to hold the mirror up and say, ‘Is this something about me? Is this something about my leadership style?’,” Clare says.
“[Leaders have] recognised that if they don't look at it, if they don't look at all the factors that might be causing this, including the impact of their own leadership style, it's not going to be good for their business.”
While recognising flaws in your own management style can be difficult enough, dealing with a partnership can heighten the complexities if both parties do not agree on the issues that may be damaging the business.
For HR consultants like Clare, giving “frank feedback” to all business partners is important if those problems are to be solved.
“Sometimes you need to do that,” she says.
“To sit on stuff that you know is going on and not say it because … that might be a difficult conversation and might potentially end up in you having to part in company, that's just irresponsible in my view.”
To try and break a deadlock, whether real or perceived, Clare suggests framing feedback as a gift.
“I'll say, ‘Look, I need to say something to you and I want you to understand that my intent is good here, but I think you're going to be better for hearing this feedback’,” she says.
“I don't tend to get a lot of people who shut me down after that, they recognise it for what it is.”