The Practitioner: stuck in the middle

HAVING TWO PARTNERS of a similar age and similar personalities
can be very useful, but also a pain in the backside!

It can be very useful when having to bounce ideas off them for feedback, but an absolute nightmare when it comes to getting advice relating to most things. For example, even asking one for advice about a client tax enquiry somehow manages to work its way into the other partner’s office and he then comes back with a totally different perspective.

This is not altogether bad as it does give me a couple of options that I can mull over and then hope­fully come up with my own choice.

If only it was that simple. What makes it so difficult is that both partners think that their opinion is the correct one. They both think they are right 100% of the time.

I, of course, feel stuck in the middle; whichever partner I take advice from, the other gets upset. It’s getting to the point where I actually stop asking them their opinion on things. I have even resorted to contacting a partner from a practice I worked at five years ago and running a few things by him, rather than start another conflict in the office.

Partner meetings have almost ceased from having any practical use at all, mainly due to the fact that they end up as a slanging match and nothing ever really gets decided.

We are coming to a point where one of them will have to leave; either by being removed, killed by SAS hitmen (in my office daydreams), or by doing the honourable thing and having a heart attack on the golf course.

Neither of them will agree to them being the one to leave although they would quite happily let the other one go tomorrow! The problem with all the in-fighting and unrest is that the people who matter most are affected; staff and clients.
Staff aren’t stupid (well not all of them), and with paper-thin walls I imagine they have entertained themselves on the details of the last couple of board meetings.
Clients have hopefully not yet seen any change in the level of service they receive, but unless we put an end to the bickering imm­ediately it is only a matter of time.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a regional firm in the heart of England

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