How to resolve conflicts in family businesses
- In recent years, Kenya has experienced a family business rivalry between siblings that has put businesses on their deathbed.
- The potential for conflict in such businesses may be greater than for others usually due to conflict between business and emotional concerns.
- Conflicts can arise even in the most tight-knit families, and adding a business to the mix increases the chances that it escalates into full-blown combat.
In recent years, Kenya has experienced a family business rivalry between siblings that has put businesses on their deathbed.
The potential for conflict in such businesses may be greater than for others usually due to conflict between business and emotional concerns.
Conflicts can arise even in the most tight-knit families, and adding a business to the mix increases the chances that it escalates into full-blown combat. Although conflicts between family businesses are of interest to foreigners, they can tear families apart.
Family businesses are fertile ground for conflict and add unique dimensions to already complex family systems.
When a conflict arises in a family business, it is often impossible to separate family ties from business relationships. In addition, a poorly managed family conflict can hurt the economy.
If you are in a business with family members, being able to approach and overcome the inevitable conflicts is essential. This does not mean that you have to achieve perfect and endless harmony between the people involved.
Instead, the goal is to manage disputes effectively so that there is no serious negative impact on family relationships or business operations.
When prevention has not worked and a conflict develops, the sooner it is managed, the easier it is to resolve. Let’s walk together on how to resolve the differences:
Communicate early and often about issues: this is very effective in avoiding and minimizing conflicts. The most important conflicts begin with a misunderstanding of smaller issues and divergent points of view.
Being able to talk about them openly and find commonalities can keep them from becoming more problematic. Families with low conflict contact each other much more frequently than families with high conflict.
Communication is used to build trust, reduce misunderstandings, and strengthen relationships in general. Families who stay in touch can discuss disagreements as soon as they arise so that bad feelings don’t escalate.
Creating a system for resolving conflict can help families deal with a range of issues, including simple personality conflicts as well as disagreements over business strategy, expansion, financing, acquisitions, or disagreements. corporate governance.
The process serves as a sort of early warning system that alerts business leaders, family and non-family, of brewing issues.
A formal resolution process should define responsibilities for detection and identify actions to be taken. Families need to create personalized systems based on their values, meet their unique needs and have broad support among stakeholders.
Family formation: Plan how you are going to handle conflicts and disagreements and define this in the formation of the family business.
Holding a company management meeting may be appropriate to resolve relatively minor disputes.
Bring in experts to mediate major conflicts: some issues simply cannot be resolved internally. When family members are grounded and constructive dialogue is not possible, an objective expert trained to help resolve conflicts can help eliminate emotions and focus on issues.
A mediator can also help guide a family through initial conversations to a final resolution, many family businesses can do more in hours with an outside expert than they have in years.
Plan ahead for conflicts: There are ways to plan for conflicts before they arise. The best way is through a formal resolution process that can bring order to the ebb and flow of emotions that are inevitable in a family business owner.
Just as businesses have contingency plans to deal with various threats, family businesses should also have a plan in place to deal with family disputes before disagreements escalate and tensions rise.
Don’t Let Business Bleed Into Family Time: It’s very hard not to bring business home, but one of the ways that conflict turns into a family drama is by not keeping it apart. Family business owners need to lead by example by separating business and family time as much as possible.
One way to make this separation possible is to have formal spaces and structured moments to discuss business issues. Explicitly making non-shopping areas other times can help family members relax in their personal roles and get away from work.
Many conflicts boil down to centuries-old family conflicts. It’s common to see businesses that mirror family hierarchies. For example, parents may run the business together, or one advantaged eldest child may take a leadership role while other children and spouses hold other leadership positions.
However, this parent-child and family dynamic can make it even more difficult to separate family and business. Leaders need to be able to treat children like employees and managers during working hours to help reduce the risk of family dynamics damaging the corporate culture.
If you are in a family business, you will almost certainly have fights and quarrels with family members from time to time. The key is to take steps to address these issues in a way that prevents disagreements from turning into a full-fledged war that can potentially end the business.