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Ask Timpo: My co-founder treats senior female staff like secretaries, what to do?

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A: You must have a heart-to-heart with your co-founder – starting with the subject of money. From what you say, the female team member is vastly overpaid for the jobs she is being asked to do. This is a nonsense. There are several ways to put things right.

If she is to continue doing the present menial role, she should take a cut in pay (not a realistic course of action but it makes a point). 

To put her back on track, sit down with your co-founder and agree her role, together with a list of her main responsibilities. Agree the list together first and then make sure she is happy with it. Follow up with a meeting between the three of you a month later to check how it is working.

If neither a pay cut nor a role change is possible, it’s time to make the unfortunate colleague redundant. Be generous: it is not her fault she is in this position. There is probably some sort of personality clash between her and your co-founder, in which case you are unlikely to find a solution, no matter how hard you try.

Just make sure you agree the ground rules before you seek a replacement.

John Timpson runs high-street cobbler Timpson, which has 800 branches nationwide and sales of £150m. Got a question for him? Post it in the comments box below.

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