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 work in a thriving advisory firm in a job I love. We have great clients and a great team of people who are dedicated to our clients and to growth. There are three partners who co-founded our firm and still run it together. One acts as president, one CFO/COO and one head of the advisors. Their roles are pretty clear and they are all very talented people with a quest to do the right thing by all of us on the staff.

There are times when they have to make a joint decision. The most recent was when we discussed if or when to return to the office and how we would stagger the employees and who should go in first, etc. It is a touchy conversation because some of us want to stay home and work virtually for much longer, some miss working in the office, some need to be closer to all of our technology and files and there are no good answers.

What happened – and this isn’t the first time – is that one of the partners disagreed with what the other two agreed upon. But in the full discussion, in which many of us are also present, this partner will say they are in agreement. Then, as soon as the meeting breaks, this partner will seek one of us out to badmouth the decision, get us to consider things differently and generally degrade and demean the decision made by the other two partners.

The worst part is that it isn’t always the same partner. It could be any one of the three of them. It puts us in an awkward position (a) because we heard the partner agree to something, and (b) because we either have to side with this partner and against the others or run the risk of alienation.