Being a part of your business family is something to be proud of. But running such a venture is often challenging due to many rivalries. Be it between a father and a son or brothers and sisters, a business may suffer or even die because of frictions among family members.
You will come across numerous examples of family business feuds from the past. The involvement of multiple decision-makers will lead to trouble. But the reasons for family feuds go much deeper than that. Here are some common reasons and the best ways to prevent them.
- Lack of clarity in wills
While several reasons can arise conflicts, money is always at the top. Lack of clarity on which family member will get what property or how much money will surely raise disputes. This lack of transparency creates anxiety, which can lead to trouble doing business together.
Whether you are a senior or not, you should be thinking about estate planning well in advance. You can hire a lawyer to write your wills clearly to prevent any future conflicts.
- No clear succession plan
Succession planning is one of the most crucial steps to take in family firms. If you don’t have one in place, there are good chances that your family members will fight to get the power. Even if you try putting up a succession plan, the chances are that you might fail. There are numerous family members involved in creating a succession plan. Hence, agreeing upon a single plan can become challenging.
The key to successful succession planning is to let your intentions be clear. Develop strong bonds with the family members and never plan anything upon favoritism. It will also help if you train all the next-generation family business leaders and see how they perform before deciding.
- Showing favoritism
Failing to create a successful succession plan is not the only result of favoritism. Prioritizing one person over the other can also lead to several other troubles in your business. For instance, if you favor your eldest child over the youngest, it can easily lead to frictions.
Every member of your family should be treated equally. Only with such an attitude and culture in the workplace, your family business will excel. Favoritism does not only limit to family members. Hence, it will also help if you treat even the non-family employees equally when it comes to the work.
- Poor communication
You might be thinking about how poor communication can do any harm. The lesser the talks, the lesser the damage, right? Well, that’s not true when it comes to a family firm or, let’s say, business in general. Lack of clear communication is the catalyst that leads to numerous other problems.
If there are no precise requirements and goals set, everyone will think that their way is right. There will be contrasting opinions altogether, leading to problems.
You can conduct regular meetings to rule out poor communications. Bring all the family members together once in a while and try to build a cohesive team. You can also write down procedures and collaborative decisions and circulate them. It will help implement clear and transparent communications.
- Emotional decisions
You might have heard people saying to keep the personal and professional life separate. But when it comes to the family business, it’s always personal. Thus, keeping your emotions to run the business becomes challenging.
If you directly manage or work under a family member, giving or taking negative feedback becomes real trouble. There’s no denying that taking critical feedback positively is not something everyone can do. If you let the emotions interfere, it will show you weak in from of others. On the other hand, if you sound too harsh, it will lead to problems.
Create a balance between emotions and the need to make critical decisions. Try to provide positive, actionable feedback while keeping your tone moderate. If you are working under a family member, understand that it is all business and nothing personal. Also, take the feedback positively as it will help you grow.
- Unclear roles and responsibilities
If you don’t segregate the roles and responsibilities among the family members, everyone is bound to interfere with each other’s decisions. It can also lead to role-overlaps where conflicts may arise.
You need to assign clear roles to each family member. The choice of allowing suggestions or completely letting a single person make the decision depends on you.
Family businesses can reach great heights if everyone is satisfied and works happily. Don’t let your business die due to some sources of feuds. Keeping everything transparent is at the core of preventing any conflicts in your business family.
Meta title: Causes of Business Family Feuds and How to Tackle Them
meta desc: Whether you own a small business startup or a large enterprise, many reasons can raise a conflict. Here are some common reasons and how to address them.