Q: The number of hours my business partner puts in appears to be taking a toll on him personally, and is affecting his behavior. How can I bring this up without him taking offense?

A: When a business partner is acting cranky or showing other signs of burnout, there is no way the business can be run powerfully. His communications won't be complete or respected, and your brand won't be seen in a positive light. It is up to you to help your partner see how his actions are affecting the business. Offer your support and guidance as he changes how he operates.

  • Ask to talk to him about what you are observing.
  • Speak from the concern you have for him as a human being. For example, “In the past I've caught myself acting this way, and what I discovered was that I wasn't taking care of myself.”
  • Emphasize that he needs to look after himself and that he should ask for help. Remind him that if it was easy for an individual to reach his or her goals without a team, then he or she would already be there.
  • Help your partner see that taking care of himself will not only have personal benefits but will be better for the employees you represent, the business you represent, and the people you serve.

As long as your communication with your partner shows concern and care, you need not worry about offending him. Eventually, your partner will thank you, and his family will, too.

—Clay Nelson is a business coach to contractors nationwide, www.claynelsonlifebalance.com.