Above all else, my spouse/business partner and I maintain a united front. Yes, we disagree, we sometimes don’t see eye to eye, and we have idiosyncracies that annoy each other, but we are a team and our efforts, when combined, are a formidable match for anyone who attempts to “play” one of us against the other. Interestingly, many of our employees have failed to recognize that, when push comes to shove, my spouse and I will always defend one another in any disagreement involving an employee or another third party. Often, one of our employees will say negative things about my partner to me or about me to my partner, without stopping to consider that, not only are we business partners, we are married to one another and, because of this, we obviously have some level of mutual respect and trust, not to mention LOVE, for each other. Not only is this back stabbing behavior likely to result in a negative outcome for the employee, it is so fundamentally stupid that it amazes my partner and me it has happened with enough frequency to warrant a mention here. Arguably, it is never in good form to talk badly about someone behind his/her back, but when this is being done about one’s spouse, the ramifications are tremendous. Read Counterpoint Here
As business and life partners, we will naturally have a similar perspective on many issues such that it is second nature to respond in some united fashion. As Melissa discusses, in the extreme, when employees have tried to create a wedge between us, that mistake results in almost an automatic defensive response (usually resulting in the employee’s firing). But, a bigger point in this discussion is that partners will usually be united in their big picture approach on most issues – or else they would not be partners for long. As such, it is natural to expect partners to have a united front about issues. But, sometimes the partners discuss and plan the united front in advance and, as has been discussed in other posts, coordinating efforts can be helpful in ensuring that the message or information given to employees or clients is consistent. It is a coordinated united front that puts the message in a business context, not just a personal or individual context.