It is usual for a person to start a business and begin to bring in family members. It sounds easy, but it can bring many heartaches. As a result, it is essential to answer certain questions before hiring a loved one. These questions relate to:
- Each person’s role
- Where business begins and ends
- How other staff members relate to the family member
- Whether the family member has special privileges
- Areas where the family member cannot intrude
- Loyalty, and
Come and Help Me in the Business
We often hear that it is hard to get ‘good help.” Thus, it is usual for business owners to reach out to family members for support. Things start easy, but the lines can become blurred as the family gains knowledge and experience in the business.
As a result, other staff members can begin to go to the family member bypassing the owner. If this happens, the owner can feel left out or uninformed on what is happening in the business. This can lead to conflict and hard feelings.
We Only Talk Business
Business is a 24 hour, 7-day a week job. When the owner and family members only talk about the business, personal relationships might begin to suffer. Personal memories cease to be created. Personal relationships lose meaning because they become shallow and unimportant. The consequences can be long-lasting.
Employees can feel as if the relative can do what they want and get paid what they want, while they are the slaves in the business. It is possible for splinter groups to form and a ‘we-they’ mentality and undercurrent to become the norm.
If this is allowed to exist, over time the workplace can become quite toxic. Employees can band together, pit one family member against the other, or work to rule refraining from doing what is best for the business to flourish and grow. Toxicity grows slowly but it is difficult to eradicate.
Fear can destroy the best of relationships. The business owner has to determine how much the family members and employees can know about the business, how much control to maintain, and when to bring family members to task if they are not living up to expectations.
It is often easier to have difficult conversations with strangers than it is with family members. That is why it is essential to determine upfront how and when conflict resolution and problem-solving will occur.
Setting the Ground Rules
Much heartache and grief are avoided when roles are established, family members are paid fairly for the work they do, there is no discrimination, personal and business relationships are separated, when a strong team is established and nurtured, when communication is two-way, and when conflict resolution is accepted as positive and the norm.
Do you want to
- reduce stress and achieve harmony in your personal and professional life?
- be a more effective and efficient leader in your workplace?
If you want to be on top of your game, then you will benefit the most from coaching.
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Dr. Brenda Kelleher-Flight