Q: “I work for a smaller-sized family operation and my boss, one of the daughters, has no clue on how to work with people. She is disrespectful, she yells all the time, and no one wants to be around her.  The worst part is that everyone else in the family knows this but won’t talk to her about it. If they won’t recognize the problem, how can the employees do anything about it?”

A: I remember when one of my sons was two years old he thought if he put his hands over his face that we weren’t able to see him.

Sometimes, families act the same way. They think if they don’t talk about a problem, they can act as if it doesn’t really exist.

There are several reasons why family members are reluctant to confront other members about their behaviors. Some fear repercussions in the future; some don’t think it is their place to criticize or point it out; others have simply gotten used to the behavior; still others use the “I’m-not-perfect-either” excuse. These are poor justifications for avoiding the confrontation that desperately needs to occur.

You need to let one of the other family members know the effect that this situation is having on the work-place atmosphere, productivity, cooperation, the staff’s mood and eventually worker turnover. Focus on the cost — both financially and emotionally — that the business is paying as a result of the boss’ behavior. Have some specific examples ready. (Don’t ramble on, thinking more is better; focus on the biggies.) Also be prepared to offer ideas on how to correct or improve the situation.

Don’t make any threats to leave. Focus instead on having a professional discussion about how this is a significant distraction to the operation’s overall productivity and the need to change the behavior for the good of the whole.

If you have questions for Dear Boss, send them to:

Don Tyler, P.O. Box 67, Stockwell, IN47983or e-mail to don@dontyler.com.

Your letter will remain confidential, and may or may not get an individual reply.