Every successful family business I’ve met with has a strong, often times, visionary leader.
The tricky part comes when the family is trying to develop, identify and support its next leader. That’s when sibling rivalry and family dynamics get in the way. Family members often confuse family roles and business roles.
My experience, which has consistently proven true with many families, has shown that certain individuals possess inherent leadership qualities such as: ambition, vision and interacting with others.
The challenges come when other family members fail to recognize or accept the next leader’s style or vision. Siblings resist seeing their sibling as a leader in the business or they want to sabotage the leader to prove their point.
I help everybody realize the family needs all different types of team members to have a successful team. The family is encouraged to learn how to appreciate leaders and to be supportive of their efforts.
I coach the up-and-coming leaders to learn to be humble and collaborative and learn how to rise above the sibling stuff and be a servant leader on behalf of the family and the business.
It’s a process that takes time and cooperation from everyone. Your family should help everyone find the best way they can contribute to the family’s success. The business and the family needs leadership to succeed. Getting caught in power plays can be lethal to a good business and family.
Smart families learn to involve outside perspectives and processes to help guide the development of leadership and communication skills in the family. Sometimes that involves a combination of family counseling, business coaching and communications and business training.
Rather than resist up-and-coming leadership, the family needs to embrace it and use it for the good of the entire family. When the family can embrace that concept, it can begin to get all of the people in the “right seats on the bus” and move toward a more sustainable business and family.
Nurture the right skills and mindsets through thoughtful discussion and “practice” at family meetings over time. Don’t let turf wars and bad behavior kill the spirit of what can evolve into an even bigger and stronger family! It can take several years to let all of this develop. I’ve watched families hit their stride after their third or fourth annual meeting.
It’s so rewarding to see a family create the right atmosphere where everyone can find their place to contribute and create a rewarding and secure future.
Your family can do this… it takes patience, time and a commitment to learning. Play to your potential! The family and its employees are depending upon it!
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.