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Family Business Yelling Feedback Incompetence Ethics Disciplining Owners

I work in a relatively small business that is now very, very successful. Iíve worked my way from $8.00/hr + Commission (@28,000/yr) to $20.00/hr + Commission & bonuses(@65,000/yr) in 6 years. I know that Iím the highest paid employee, and that Iím satisfied with my pay. I also know Iím an over achiever and Iíve brought the company from 130th in our industry to the top-dealer in 6 years total. I know for a fact Iíve made huge improvements to this business and I have a great relationship with the majority of the other employees.

Although, I am not the ďgeneral managerĒ and have yet to receive an actual title - Iím definitely the coordinator and actually manage the dealership.

Now the ownerís daughter has decided to come in more often and try to take on the role as general manager. She has no management experience (other then hiring & firing 10 or so employees within this company). She causes extreme amounts of drama with and extremely flirty attitude with employees, customers, and even local delivery men causing more issues than you could ever imagine. She does not come in at normal hours, maybe 3 to 4 days a week and if sheís there maybe 4 hours sheís paid bills and sent me off to run her personal errands. (Today I picked her up a fountain poured coke, and picked up two rings from the local jeweler)

She does not have a real business plan, nor a true job description, or standard order of operations for the employees and their job duties. The rules change on a daily basis. She is extremely demanding and does not like to be shown how to do something, even if it is imperative to the business or a prospective new customer.

For instance, this week I was delivering a purchased unit to a new customer out of state when she called and informed me that the salesman were all away and that she needed to know how much the two units we just finished up cost were... I told her the retail figures and she wanted to know actual cost so she could intelligently talk to a potential customer about pricing. I informed her that I knew one unit was completely entered in our dealer management system, but the other was not. I also informed her that I did not know the actual dealer cost of this unit, nor the other unit off the top of my head. I informed her that she could easily look at the cost in our system for the one unit that was entered. She said ď Iím not going through that, that takes entirely too long, this is absolutely ridiculous that we do not have the actual dealer cost written down in the units files!Ē ((Yelling)) I had the phone away from my ear and even the owner could hear every word she was yelling. (He looked confused during this) She kept yelling at me, and I expressed that if she wanted to know the actual dealer cost that there was a very easy 30second procedure she would need to do... she just kept yelling... I told her that we could go over everything tomorrow morning, and she kept yelling, I said we can discuss this tomorrow... she paused for a moment and I heard nothing so I hung up the phone. She immediately called the owner (right next to me) and started yelling at him about the situation and he said ďwe can deal with this tomorrow, no big dealĒ. Just from his looks I only assumed that he understood that she only wanted it her way and that she was not going to it the way everyone else does it. That wasnít the case the next morning...

The next morning I was called into her office with her and the owner. I was written up for insubordination because I hung up on her. I spoke my peace that I was not to be yelled at like a dog, and that I was not a child and should not be spoken to in any other fashion. She said that she never raised her voice and that I refused to do what she said. I kept my mouth shut... I never refused anything... I looked at the owner hoping he would be a more logical person because he witnessed the confrontation, but he agreed with her and even to the point saying that I was in the wrong and that was uncalled for. I did sign the paper with a very shaky hand....

I have addressed a multitude of other issues that she has caused to the owner, but it's been no help... it is only getting worse now that she is coming around more often.

I also keep a very close eye on the bookkeeping and the profits and loss reports. She has started two new credit cards under the businessí name and she and her husband uses them for personal usage. (Vacations, fuel, hotels, food, clothing, home furnishings) Iím taking thousands and thousands of dollars!

This has now put a financial burden on the company and it makes it very hard to buy product to resale if the money is gone. I rely on this for a huge part of my income.

Iíve put in for other jobs, and Iíve received a few offers, but nothing close to what Iím making now. I would accept a pay cut for happiness, but I canít accept a 50% cut.

Recently, weíve had quite a bit of employee turnover at the dealership and weíve lost a bunch of good people. A retired industrial plant operations director decided to try selling for us, and he said it best on his personal goodbye letter left for myself... ďGet out of here, youíll do great, open your own shop! I canít take the drama and abuse, I donít have to work, but I thought I would enjoy this... boy I was wrong - You canít work under someone who operates their business by the ďseagull management methodsĒ ďComes in every now-and-then, squaks a lot, shits on everything, and then just leaves!Ē

I need some advice...

I have the knowledge, I have the customer base that I know would follow, my other half is very supporting and is always after me to open my own business.... but I donít have the finances...


P.S. please excuse any and all dramatically errors, run-ons, and incomplete sentences... itís nearly 11pm after a 13hr day that has dragged me down...

In some family businesses, roles become confused and family relations trump business realities. In these cases, the outcome is not pretty. Importantly, in your situation, it sounds like the ownerís daughter is a relatively new arrival in the business, and this means that there may still be time for the owner to recognize that she is a less-than-stellar addition to the team.

You and some of your best-performing coworkers should meet privately with the owner for a factual discussion about the business. Let him know the specific problems that his daughter has created, and back up your comments with examples and costs. Then listen carefully to the ownerís words, as they will tell you where this company is going, and where you should be going as well.

If the owner is banking on his daughter to run the operation, you should seriously consider options outside the company. Network with some of the better employees who have left, not only to help you find a job, but also from the standpoint of possibly partnering with them to establish your own business.

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