Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a consultant to a business that’s been family owned forever. After
the founding father died, his two children knew it needed a major
overhaul and hired to me clean out the messy and outdated
accounting practices, set up new systems, and hire a new controller
who could manage the newly reorganized company, which includes
both apartment buildings and an athletic club. After six months I felt
ready, hired someone who looked great and went bust fast, floundered
through lousy resumes, and finally found a gem. The problem? She’s
on the job for a week, when her husband refused to stop playing
basketball on a court that’s reserved at a specific time for use by a
non-profit. We let them have access as part of our public relations and
community service outreach, but the director of the team of six-year
olds had no idea what to do when this large, top-of- his-voice maniac
kept yelling at her “No I’m, not leaving!! I’m married to the new boss
around here!!” She took the kids and left, but other staff reported the
incident to me. Should I talk to the new hire, to the owners, to the
teacher? BTW our corporate policy is to ban membership for disruptive
people. The new hire negotiated a family membership as part of the
hiring package. I want her to work out because she’s good. But not at
any cost.


Dear Aaarggghhh:

You should speak immediately to both the new controller and to the
teacher. You should not bring this to the attention of the owners
unless there’s a repeat occurrence. To the teacher, offer a profound
apology, and perhaps a gift certificate for the children to get a treat
from a local place, whether that’s an apple or an ice-cream cone. Tell
her the truth: the guy was out of line, will be chastised, and the
situation will not happen again.

When you speak to the new employee, sit her down in your office as
opposed to going to hers. That ups the ante on the conversation. Say
that you don’t know what she’s heard about “the incident” that
occurred between her husband and the visitors. You can trade version
of the event, because he’s bound to have given her some distorted
and self-serving version of what happened. Bullies always justify their
behavior. But the point of the matter is not a he-said/she- said but
rather to deliver a message: his behavior was inappropriate, contrary
to club policy, and will not be tolerated. Explain that his membership
can be revoked at any time, and that being the wife of a supervising
employee doesn’t buy him any more privileges than any other
member. Yu can offer to have the convo directly with her husband, or
to have the club manager do so. But I suspect she’ll be happier
communicating with him directly.