Family Business Conflict Resolution Management

Conflict Resolution Management


Working with your family is difficult. Business is about making a profit, but family is about unconditional love and support. These two things do not always combine well. As such, when family members’ behavior falls below what is expected, many times we avoid bringing it up for fear of hurting feelings, or starting an argument. However, it only builds until someone snaps. This type of passive/aggressive behavior is common in a family business.

Another common way family businesses encounter conflict is by not clearly defining roles and responsibilities. As family members, everyone has a sense of ownership for the business, and thus a feeling of responsibility for all areas. However, when everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge. Good job definitions enables family members a sense of pride for their area, and also allows accountability for when performance falls behind.

Finally, good communication is also critical to dealing with and avoiding conflict. Active listening, Code of conduct, Family business meetings, and good governance all combined can greatly improve communication and enable conflict resolution.