Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

One of our financial advisors, I will call him Sean, left our firm a few years ago to go out on his own. His wife became ill and he wanted more freedom and felt doing the solo thing was the best approach. She eventually got well and has been doing fine. He decided he did not like working on his own and so has come back into the fold with me and one other partner.

He is a good advisor and has strong investment acumen. But he is a stoic, low-key person. My other partner, who I will call Matt, and I are high-energy, enthusiastic and upbeat people who enjoy our work, our clients and like to have some fun. We work very hard and have strong performance.

But life is too short to be serious and down all of the time. We’ve tried to engage Sean and include him, but he wants to keep focused on the work and then go home as early as possible each day. He tells us it is nothing personal and he wants to be home with his wife. But we think he is having second thoughts about coming back to the firm. We believe he would be more engaged and more involved if he were more committed.

Would it be intrusive to ask him whether he intends to stay or ask what we are doing that is so bothersome to him? We don’t want to alienate him if we can avoid it.


Dear O.N.,

Have you considered that he might be telling you the truth? After going through such a scary experience with his wife and her illness, maybe they decided “life is short” and they want to spend as much time together as possible. Or maybe his behavioral style is very different from yours and Matt’s. You both sound like high-energy, outgoing and fun-loving people. That’s great, except Sean sounds like he is more of a loner, perhaps something of an introvert who enjoys his work but needs to go home and recharge his batteries after a day of dealing with clients and dealing with two extroverted individuals.