The Owner’s Son

25 Sep

Letterbalm SlackerDear LetterBalm: What can I do about a colleague who’s chronically late and absent? He’s late to work almost every day, he doesn’t get work done on time, he takes sick days like crazy – and he gets away with all this because he’s the owner’s son. We are a small company creating highly technical software, so if one person slacks off the whole team knows about it and suffers. His dad is the company co-owner and preoccupied with running the business. It’s up to us to get work done on time and meet all specs. I don’t know if it will make any difference to talk with the colleague – he swaggers, with a real entitled attitude.

–Slacker Kid

It’s time to take up the matter of the slacker son with his father. Ms. L.B. reminds you that reputations and careers are on the line here, not to mention invested money and the good name of a new company. Daddy’s boy is threatening the whole works. He might as well be a saboteur from a competitor. Several of you – cooler heads and the best achievers on the team – need to approach the boss when sonny boy is not on the premises. If there are no private offices, ask him to take a walk outside. Stay calm, let one person do the talking, don’t get personal and stick to business:

Steve, thanks for taking time to meet with us. This is so important, we can’t handle it ourselves and we feel you’ll want to know directly. For some time now, we’ve had to cover for Alex, to the point where team output, deadlines and product reliability are under threat. Alex is a talented guy and we need his brain. We’ve tried to approach him, but we’re dealing with a chronic situation of morning tardiness and lateness with projects. He doesn’t seem to realize the importance of what we do here. We know you appreciate our candor because we really like the work we’re doing here, and we value the reputation and future of the company.

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