Squabble at work worries leader’s confidant
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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in the onboarding process for a new project, and one of the principals is worrying me. There is a lot of tension in leadership. I have the ear of one of the leaders, and right now all I’m hearing is moaning and groaning about internal feuding. It’s making me worry that the work cannot get done due to the bickering. I want to be a confidant to this woman, my contact, but I’m tired of hearing the blow-by-blow of internal drama. And I’m worried that I won’t be effective after I join the team if they can’t get past the fighting. How can I help get them back on track? — Eyes on the Prize
DEAR EYES ON THE PRIZE: When you talk to your contact, focus on the goals of the project and how to execute them. Agree to listen to the internal conflict for a few minutes, but gently pivot the conversation to the work at hand. Offer to help keep the goals on track. If you sense that the blow-by-blow is consuming too much oxygen, ask her to refocus on the project. Come to your meetings with a list of objectives, timelines and other prompts that can help keep discussions on track. Before you sign any paperwork, make it known that you want to work on this project and that you are concerned about how time-consuming and distracting the in-fighting has become. Offer to help keep the project focused, but make it clear that leadership has to work through their turmoil — and fast.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband’s father has always expected us to give him money whenever he needs it. This expectation is unreasonable and causes us a lot of stress and financial burden. I understand that he may need some help at times, but always expecting us to provide for him without any compromise or consideration for our own financial situation is not fair. I don’t know what to do about this situation. It has been going on for quite some time now, and my husband refuses to confront his father about it. What can we do to break free from this unfair demand while still showing compassion toward his father? — Stop Asking
DEAR STOP ASKING: Sit down with your husband and make a budget. Review all of your financial needs and goals. Talk about what your plans are for your family, what you want to save for, etc. Include some support for your father-in-law and potentially any other family members who may need help. Elder care is a real concern for millions of families in our country. In order to have control over your life, you have to figure out and be clear about what you can contribute to your father-in-law.
Once you have established what you are comfortable contributing to your father-in-law, agree to tell him. This may require that you step up to deliver the news if your husband doesn’t feel capable. You two need to decide how you will handle it. Will you give him a monthly allowance? Will you create an emergency fund for when he calls, but limit the amount? Whatever you decide, move forward together with that understanding, and let your father-in-law know that there are boundaries around his monetary requests now. Period.