Mixing family and business can often lead to communication issues that can hinder the success of the company.
One common problem arises when family members struggle to communicate effectively with each other. This is especially true when a parent is working alongside their child in the business. While the parent may try to give instructions to their child in the same way they would to other employees, their tone of voice or body language may unintentionally convey a different message.
Communication is not just about the words we use but also about the tone and body language we project. It can be difficult for a parent to communicate with their child in a purely “business-like” manner, as their longstanding parent-child relationship tends to influence their interactions. The child employee may naturally respond to their parent’s communication as if they were still a child, further complicating the dynamic. This all happens on a subconscious level, making it challenging to address.
So, how can we make our communications more “business-like” in these situations?
The first step is to be aware of the dynamic at play. When we consciously recognize that our communication is being influenced by our parent-child relationship, we can choose to transition to a more business-like manner. By consciously adopting the role of an “adult” and communicating in a respectful way, we are more likely to elicit an adult-like and respectful response from our child employees.
Another helpful approach is to define and separate the business and family spaces clearly. When we are at the workplace, dressing and behaving as business professionals, we should make an effort to communicate in a business-like manner. The more distinct the separation between “business” and “family” becomes, the easier it becomes to navigate the communication challenges.
So, the next time your child employee acts in a “childish” manner, consider whether your own communication style may have triggered this response by sounding too parental. If you’re not sure, look out for signs such as pointing fingers or hands on hips, as these are often indicators of a parent-child interaction.
The same advice applies to child employees as well. If you bring your “child voice” to work, it’s no surprise that your boss treats you like a child. It’s important to recognize when we are responding with a child-like attitude and make the effort to communicate in a more professional manner.
If you are struggling with the dynamics of a family business and would like assistance, our team is here to help. We specialize in navigating the unique challenges that arise when family and business intertwine. Get in touch with us today and let us support you in creating a more harmonious and successful environment for your family business.