Raju Swamy: June 12, 2012
Family Business: Letters to my Clients: Keep employees out of your conflict zone:
In a Family Business, it takes very little to ignite a fire…….more so when theFamily Business Environment is undergoing Conflict, with consequential Trust Deficit, and again the consequential proneness to conveniently believe, or think, theworst, in the face of business challenges.
When an Organization becomes a ‘matchbox’, the Employees become ‘matchsticks’! The majority of Employees are good human beings primarily pursuing their livelihood and in the process trying to meet their aspirations and responsibilities. Like in any cross-section of society there are also those who are happiest keeping others unhappy. In a Family Business, Conflict and Misunderstanding are fodder for such employees to thrive. What can be the causes:
1. Lack of Unity in Leadership.
2. Developing a ‘my man’ ‘your man’ identity for various employees.
3. Discussing Family Business issues in front of employees, passing remarks, openly blaming other Family colleagues, implying wrong practices, and generally spreading uneasiness and insecurity within the organization, even while multiplying the internal problems of the Family Business.
4. In such a situation, certain types of employees become ‘conduits’ for carrying tales, spreading rumours, exploiting a Family Member’s frustration or anger through flattery, and generally making themselves ‘important’, and secure. Unfortunately,such type of employees are normally those whose professional incompetence shows up often, and therefore the need to cover up through negative action.
5. Many times, disgruntled employees with feelings of unfair treatment may also be the cause.
6. And there are also employees exposed to a Family Business’s possible unethical dealings, who will exploit the situation.
7. There are even some employees who are so used to surviving and actually doing well in a Family Conflict Situation that they actually feel insecure about any imminent positive change. There was this great Hollywood film a few years ago, ‘The One That Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’: There is a mental hospital administered by a strong Matron, over many years. She has been part of this mental hospital for so long that any ‘change’ makes her insecure. And one day there is a new patient (Jack Nicholson) who has the will to fight his way out of his condition and begins to show signs of improvement. To the Matron, this is a threat to her position, and security. What will happen if her mad inmates become normal? She will lose her ‘power’….for she enjoys ‘power’ only so long as her inmates are ‘mad’…..she gets obsessed with this threat to her ‘status quo’ and does everything in her power to sabotage the new inmate’s efforts, and succeeds. As I stated earlier, there could be similar ‘Loyal, long-serving, hard-working, up-from-the-ranks but insecure’ employees who may find security in a conflict or ‘status-quo’ situation in a Family Business.
7. It is important for the Family Business Members to be level-headed and be determined to stick together when significant changes are taking place, and results appear to be positive.
Please ensure togetherness, do not make unguarded loose statements, do not mis-interpret each other’s views, spend enough time together to be on the same wavelength, be focused on Success……and on the well-being of the Family Business, and the Families depending on you, both within the Family and with the good employees who work for you……..for it takes very little to ignite a fire in the Family Business…
& Advisor to Family Business
PROMAG Consultancy Services
Apt. 206 Brigade Rathna
42 Ranga Rao Road
Bangalore – 560004 INDIA
Tel. +91-80-26676298/ Cell: 9845271498
Strengthening Family Dynamics for Family Business Growth…….since 1985