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Back when you first started your business, you probably imagined that your fellow director was going to be a trusted partner, an indispensable asset. The Ben to your Jerry. The Ant to your Dec. The Jay Z to your Beyoncé.

The honeymoon period rarely lasts long though. When you’re working together so closely, it’s inevitable that there are going to be times when you have differences in opinion. Sometimes, this can prove to be productive in terms of bringing an exciting dynamic to the working relationship and how you bounce around ideas. And sometimes – if you are like me – you thrive on a bit of er, vocal and healthy debate. But occasionally, a whole host of other problems can rear their heads.

You’re passionate, you’re motivated, and you want to take things up to the next level. So what are you supposed to do when your fellow director just isn’t pulling their weight?

If it were an employee, the process would be fairly clear-cut. You’ll hopefully have policies in place to tackle issues head on. And even if you didn’t, you’d probably feel comfortable spelling out to them that their performance was quite wide of the mark. But when the problem is your business partner, things become a lot more complicated. Particularly when they’re likely to be a good friend to boot (isn’t that why you started the business together in the first place?).

First of all, let’s not blow things out of proportion. It may all be down to a lack of communication, and it’s very possible that an open and honest chat could clear the air, give you both an opportunity to revisit your expectations, and then move forward with a mutual understanding of what needs to be done. Initiating the conversation can be tough, but you’re both professionals, and burying your head in the sand will help no one.

If this option has been exhausted, then there may be a need for more drastic measures. Ideally, you’ll have created a written agreement outlining provisions for if and when this type of circumstance arose via shareholders agreement. And buying out your partner could be a possibility.

As a last resort, dismissing a fellow director is an option, but you’ll need approval from more than 50% of any shareholders that you might have. Always refer to the legislation, and seek out professional guidance to prevent things from getting unnecessarily nasty.

Whichever option is best for you, the key is to take action quickly. Dragging things out could have a serious impact on the rest of your workforce, and even your own health and wellbeing.

If you’re having problems with a fellow director and you don’t know what to do for the best, get in touch for a confidential chat. We’ll help you to understand your options, and we may be able to guide you right through the process of deciding which route is best for you.

For more details on any other HR challenges you might have, drop us a line at or call 0203 627 7048.

For more reading on giving your own leadership style a bit of a kickstart , then download our new eBook: Leadership 101: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Inspirational Leader.

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Photocredit: Global Panorama