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Is it possible to lead a family business and keep the peace?

I am in a family business and I have a family member who has a position of responsibility and has enormous potential but she does not really want to hear what I have to say, despite the fact that I am her boss, at least on paper. I am afraid if I exert my position for the sake of the business that I might damage my family relationship with this person but I can’t ignore the fact that I have to give this person my honest views for the sake of the business and her own development. How do I deliver the business message and not create World War III in the workplace and, importantly, the family?

As a leader, you do have to be honest, as that has to be the starting point. All of us need to confront the brutal truth but the trick is to learn how to deliver it without brutality. This is a leadership skill that separates the best from the worst of business leaders, and, in particular, family business leaders.

John Maxwell, in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, advised: “The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.”

If you have followers who aren’t on the improve, your team isn’t on the improve and he argues growth comes out of a willingness to change. He says you have to be worried about people you work with who are not into personal growth and don’t have a plan for it.

I believe the issues that worry you have to be talked about. You need to say that this is business and not personal. You need to show you respect the family member but that there are things that you have learnt over time and that you would be letting her down if you didn’t have the courage to bring it up.

Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State once said: “A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone.”

For advice you can trust book a complimentary first appointment with Switzer Financial Services today.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Monday, May 31, 2010

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