Confronting Office Gossip

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

We are putting together our business plans for 2023. Our team has undergone a great deal of change this year. We lost one of our senior advisors to COVID early in the year. We had another one go through a devastating divorce and take four months off to recoup. One of the newer team members who joined us in April left and stole some of our clients. I know “life happens,” but it has been challenging for us to regroup and orient ourselves to what we need to focus on.

I’m charged with planning an offsite for mid-September to discuss what we want to accomplish next year and to make plans. I’m struggling to figure out how to manage the emotional overtones of what we’ve been through. Do I develop an agenda and launch into the meeting as though nothing has happened? Do I take a few minutes to recap what we’ve been through together and how much it has hurt all of us? Do I let people share their thoughts and feelings about what they are experiencing? I’m not a shrink – I’m an operations manager who cares a lot about the people and the team.

I don’t know the right balance to strike so people won’t think I am weak, but they also won’t think I am cold and unfeeling – neither of which are true for those who know me.