Series-"When a Household Employee is Holding You Hostage" 2 of 4: Power with Relationships
We are continuing with our series of toxic employees that you may feel are taking advantage of you, or even feel you are being held "hostage by" and cannot terminate. Exploring some of the scenarios where this might take place is not exhaustive, but by providing an overview hopefully, you can recognize the signs that its time to let an employee go and take action accordingly.
In this next example, we have a senior administrative member of the staff (most likely an estate manager) who has gone to great lengths to create relationships with outside vendors at the estate and makes it clear that he is the best and only person to manage the tasks associated with their work. Maybe the principal family was new to a household staffing structure, and the estate manager was instrumental in setting up all of the systems and outside vendor functions of the property. Perhaps the vendors were already in place, and this estate manager has just been unnecessarily exclusive in his management of them,...either way, acting as if he is the only one that can manage the vendors is a bad sign.
The problem of this scenario is that it's a power grab and an attempt at indispensability again (like the last blog post) that leaves owner's feeling vulnerable, especially if the vendors are threatening to walk away from the job unless they only deal with the (toxic) house manager, as no doubt they have been coached. Maybe the estate manager and the vendor are friends, and perhaps they have an agreement to "watch each other's backs" as both parties help to secure work in the area for each other. By allowing the estate manager to hold you hostage and saying "the vendors will walk, or I will take them with me if you force me to leave the position" is no way to hold onto a job.
You as the client homeowner can make it clear that the vendors ultimately work for you. In addition to creating a relationship with the vendors yourself, you have the right to speak to them directly and ask for information or clarification on any project in your home! It is essential for your house manager/estate manager to be informed of your conversations with vendors so they can stay in the loop and privy to decisions that were made to better act on your behalf in the future, but there is no reason you should have to go through your administrative level support personnel exclusively to speak to vendors who ultimately work and are paid for by you.
You can make sure that the entire staff is empowered to deal with the vendors to the best of their abilities and for the functions that fall most closely in line with their job description. There is no reason a chef can't manage a kitchen appliance repair personnel as they work with that equipment. An EM's job is to oversee all facility management, but this is not their only responsibility, and it is the duty of your entire staff to be empowered to handle the vendors that fall in line with their work obligations.
If you feel an employee is "holding you hostage" and not allowing you to make a much-needed change on your estate, please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics for assistance with restructuring your organizational chart effectively and work with you to fine-tune the quality team you deserve.