Today’s family business leaders have many things to be concerned about, from the way that their consumers are changing their buying habits, to the way that technology is permeating every aspect of the business. One age-old concern, however, is the method and transitional strategy behind the business’ emerging leadership. Are the new leader’s strategies going to help the family business continue to thrive? Will these emerging family business leaders not only continue to grow the family company, but will they take charge in ways that will move it forward, expand it, and give it the direction it needs to continue to be successful?
Emerging family business leaders have a lot on their plate, as well. These concerns are at the forefront of their huge new task. How exactly can next-generation family business executives take the reigns of a successful company and move everyone forward in a way that is profitable, wise, and promising? Successful emerging leaders have to take hold of the reigns in ways that will ensure prosperity from the start. But where do emerging business leaders begin? Take a look:
Patience in the Workplace
Patience is an age-old virtue, but one that never fails. Both current generation and next generation family leaders have to have patience and understanding towards the changes that must now take place. When an emerging family business leader assumes his or her leadership role, the tasks can seem overwhelming.
The emerging leader must generate personal responsibility for almost every aspect of the business, then take hold of each aspect and determine that if current performance standards are not up to par, what can be done to bring them up? This takes patience with employees, stakeholders, other family members and the business culture as it currently stands.
It was briefly mentioned above, but taking accountability for what is happening in the workplace is one of the most important first steps for a successful family business leader. Especially when there is already an established business dynamic in place, it can be difficult to assume – or even want to assume – accountability for the business, but it’s a part of taking on this new leadership role and dominating it.
If a brand new family business leader exhibits his or her trepidation or displays apathy towards any part of the family business, employees and other professionals will be able to sense this immediately, and the business leader risks losing much needed respect and support. Whether the new family business leader is up to the task or not, accountability is an important step to take at this time.
Managing Difficult Personalities in the Workplace
There is obviously a very complex strategy behind managing difficult personalities in the workplace, especially for a new family business leader. The situation requires delicacy and professionalism that is unique to these individuals and their personalities. Just like there is not one specific kind of leader, there is not one specific type of way of managing difficult colleague relationships. However, there are common types of personalities that employees and family business leaders tend to have a problem dealing with.
These types of personalities include narcissists, people with anger issues, untrustworthy types and passive-aggressive colleagues. Naturally, there are many situations where certain people just don’t get along, but the above personalities are not unheard of. Emerging family business leaders have to accept that these personalities are a part of the business and that in order for everyone to perform and move forward successfully, these types of personalities must be dealt with swiftly and professionally. But how? Communication and understanding.
Narcissists, for example, need to understand that that self-absorbed dynamic is not productive in a company where everyone depends on the other. Successful business leaders will place these personalities in areas where they will thrive, if possible. People with anger issues need to understand that they cannot get away with using anger to control their own workplace dynamic. They may need counseling – but before that, they need to be given strong limits.
When dealing with any difficult personality in the workplace, new business leaders need to at first understand that the individual may just need to be utilized in certain ways and departments that best fit their personality – or, that individual may just not have a place in the company at all. New family business leaders cannot feel guilt when needing to let someone go who cannot play a productive role in the company.
Support the Core Values of a Business
An emerging family business leader needs to at first understand what the company’s core values were in the beginning. Have those values changed? How can the company go back to these family business core values? How can the current values be supported, nourished and grown? If a business leader thinks he or she can handle the reigns of the family business without understanding the core values of the business in the first place, success will never be reached.
Evaluate Family Business Performance
A successful emerging family business leader needs to evaluate – evaluate everything, from himself and his goals to the way the business is currently functioning to current workplace performance and relationships. It’s a lot – but the new family business leader cannot assume he or she knows exactly what’s going on. Evaluations are extremely important at this time.
It is also a good idea to perform evaluations alongside a current or previous generation business leader, who knows the company’s culture very well and who can predict where the family company may be headed. The emerging family business leader needs to be in learning mode for a bit. When an emerging family business leader evaluates the state of the company and merges that with responsibility, communication and directness, he cannot be deterred from success.