Minimizing and Resolving Conflict in Your Family-run Business

family at home

Starting a family business is often a great expression of love and unity for each of the members. They take a shared passion and turn it into something that can help others and earn them a decent sum. However, the business can also set the stage for a significant conflict, especially when they take matters personally. The following are some points on how you can minimize the chances of conflict between family members in a business:

Plan for the Future

One situation where family members commonly fight over the business is when they’re talking about who’s going to inherit it. Too many people want to take over, or the ones who are chosen aren’t keen on it. If you want to prevent fights, you might as well create a succession plan, where you can put down instructions on how it will be passed down. Ask a family lawyer about how you can make it according to your situation, especially if you’re going to make it part of your will.

Separate Family and Business

Another source of conflict for family members in a business is taking what’s supposed to be work-related matters personally. You can avoid this by establishing a distinction between the family and the company. It’s best to make it a rule that whenever you’re in the workplace, you should treat each other strictly as fellow employees. You can leave the family-related matters outside or at home. This keeps people from getting too close to each other for their own good.

cafe owner and staff

Get Non-family Involved

When the family is already engaged in a fight with itself, it helps to have some people from outside become involved. And by involved, it’s not to get in with the drama and make it worse but to serve as sources of unbiased opinion and as mediators. Often, they’ll have perspectives that the family members haven’t considered at all because of being too close to the situation. Also, if relatives are fighting over management positions, it might be better to hire other people for those jobs.

Be Open about Matters

Secrets between people are some of the things that will tear any business apart, not just the family-built ones. Eventually, there will not only be individuals but groups of people who support different agendas and fight each other for it. But there won’t be any if communication and the records are open to anyone and everyone in the family. Be open about essential matters in the business, succession included, and discuss them as to how you should as a company.

Overall, conflict can naturally happen between family members, but it can be resolved. You just have to be willing to be open about what you all want to do with it. It also helps to make an effort to separate yourselves as a family from yourselves as employees of the business. But at the same time, you should foster a positive and healthy relationship with each other. You’re family, after all.

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