Special to The Globe and Mail
I am caught in the middle of a dogfight between two bosses. What should I do?
THE FIRST ANSWER
Personal communications consultant, James Thinkstitute, Toronto
I was once in this very position. There were 35 employees in the company and two active partners. They had separate responsibilities and equal power and it worked well for a long time. But something happened and suddenly those two men became bears with thorns in their paws, fighting all over the building.
The good thing was that we all knew what we were doing so we just carried on, avoiding consultation with them unless it was absolutely necessary. One smart thing those men did was hire well, and we all had the freedom to make decisions. That kept things going for a long time but eventually the company was shut down.
That may not work in your situation so sit down with your bosses together if you can, or separately if you must. Either way you’ll need some spine. The language you use is very important. “There is friction between you and I’m really sorry to see it. I don’t mean to interfere with that, but I do want to let you know that I’m now having trouble doing my job effectively. There are conflicting instructions [give concrete examples] and I need some clarification. We can talk about it now or set up a meeting later if you like.” See what comes of that. If nothing, go to HR and spill the beans.
See more of the article here: I’m stuck between fighting bosses. What can I do?