Professionalism- Business with Family

“There is nothing more enriching and fulfilling as working with family.” Says Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, a senior advisor at Egon Zehnder. Managing the dynamics of working closely with a family member can be very enjoyable and at times very taunting. A professional setting is different from a family setting. Here, people are out to put food on the table. Is it, therefore, appropriate to bring in family stuff from home such as conflicts and joyous moments into the office? There are ways to ensure professionalism in the workplace so as to maintain good ties even at home.

  1. As much as possible, avoid working from your family business

This is crucial to have a feel of how matters in a business are conducted. In another business, you will be trained and accustomed to the responsibilities and mannerisms expected in a professional place. You will gain skills such as sound judgement, confidence, proper communication and time management. Once you acquire the appropriate training, you can now venture into the family business. You will now be able to address your employer professionally, be it your father or elder brother. You will also learn to discern between home matters and office matters.

  1. Home-stays at home and works stay at work!

Mixing the two scenarios is a perfect recipe for conflict and drama. Imagine going about business or office matters at the dinner table with the family at home and discussing how a certain aunt came to the house uninvited at the office. You will lack respect from other employees, considering that not all of them are not from your family. You will also lose track of what to do whereby confusing matters and end up making huge losses. Rob Lachenauer, the co-founder of Banyan Family Business Advisors, says, “when you are in the office you are business people, but when you are at the ranch you are family.”

  1. Have a clear picture of what your role at the firm stipulates

Once you get to know the position you play at the firm, you should be able to learn how to prioritise matters and have a timeline for everything. If you are the chief executive officer, you need to know that the fate of the company rests on your decisions and how you handle matters. If you are the office manager, you need to act like one. If your sister takes home material belonging to the office, you need to approach her and let her know that what she has done is very wrong. This way, you will set boundaries between work and home and in turn ensure an ideal worker productivity space.

  1. Develop a back-up strategy to safeguard your personal life.

Seeing family members each and every time at work and at home can get very tiring at times. You may start losing track of your personal interests and hobbies outside the regular plans and setting. Get an appropriate time and schedule a personal vacation away from family and business. If you find that all this planning may be a bit overwhelming, consulting with a business coach would be a prolific idea to give you a third person perspective on the matter. You can pursue your hobbies and interests them and get a chance to hang out with your friends and network. This way you will be able to balance your personal life, business responsibilities and family matters.

  1. Strive to get feedback from non-relatives

If your boss happens to be your family member, the feedback you get from them regarding your input to the firm may not be candid. It is therefore essential to seek help from other staff regarding your relations with them and other matters that may seem unclear such as your level of output. This will help you grow career-wise.

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