Businesses, Relatives, and Drama Oh My!

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

If you’re a small business owner, at some point you likely hired family members without ever stopping to think about why so many companies are hellbent against it. Let’s evaluate a worst-case scenario: you hire a brilliant relative that makes MacGyver look like a dingdong. However, that same relative has the interpersonal skills of Rambo after getting harassed by the police.

So now what? Let’s get curious! Do your best to understand the situation. Ask yourself this question: why would a reasonable, rational, decent person behave this way? If the answer is, they’re sadistic and enjoy hurting people then it’s time to press the nuke button on this business arrangement and do your best to salvage what’s left of your relationship with your relative. However, if it’s a problem with self-awareness or people skills consider reassigning your relative to a position that has limited interaction with other employees and customers until they can get training to address the behavioral issues. If this isn’t an option, once again it might be time to hit the nuke button.


Prior to pressing the shiny, oh so tempting red nuke button, I would recommend having an open, honest conversation with your relative. Explain to your loved one how their behavior is impacting you. Come prepared to discuss facts and be ready to hear him/her out. Remember, don’t let it get heated. Let me repeat, don’t let it get heated! If the conversation falls apart, ask if there’s a better time to discuss your concerns and then schedule a follow up meeting no later then a week after this initial conversation. This will provide your family member time to cool down and to think about the situation. Use the one-on-one meeting with your relative to establish expectations and develop an action plan. Be open to receiving feedback about yourself that may require your own action plan. If your relative is not willing to change their behavior, then discuss with him/her an exit strategy. As part of the exit strategy, ensure that any processes or tasks handled by your relative are documented and that the rest of the team is proficient in your relative’s work assignments.

In closing, Great Family Management Consulting is here to help. We have experience mediating difficult situations. Contact us today for a free consultation. Let’s take off together!




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