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,

I read your article about the person with a boss who falls asleep and it inspired me to write. What about a boss who is a fluffy, “everything is beautiful” person who never admits anything is wrong?

She founded a very successful firm and has grown it significantly. But we have problems. We need new systems and a couple of new team members. Our back office is in bad shape and clients are starting to notice. If we say anything to her, she will respond by telling us to be positive, look on the bright side and consider the things that are going well and so on. It’s not like we are “masters of complaint,” but the things we are bringing up are real and are noticed outside of the firm.

Is there a way to make her see the truth of what we’re trying to express? I would think in financial services there are enough outside forces, like the market and concerned clients, that would motivate her to fix what’s wrong.

J.P.

Dear J.P.,

You bring up a behavioral and communication issue that is often an underlying problem. Your leader could have a high-Influencing approach to work and the world. These are people who truly see the glass half full, operate with positivity at all times and generally think things will work out. You describe it as “fluffy.” But to her, this is the reality of life. If you and your colleagues are not wired in a similar way you might see her responses as being fake or not serious. Conversely, she will hear your feedback as overly critical and negative and will likely try to over-compensate by being overly positive and upbeat. It’s a cycle – you get more concerned and try harder to get her to listen, she sees you as more stuck and unwilling to consider positive alternatives.