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Hold your Tongue to Keep the Peace in a Family Business

In route home from an endeavor to bring a family back from critical mass, I have confirmed again that families who choose to take advantage of family synergy in business must give up some freedoms to download emotions to intimate inactive family members. More succinctly, families who work together all day put the greater family harmony at great risk if they go home at night and emotionally download to spouses and children the acrid details of their daily experiences.

Therapeutic, unrestricted dialogue about the emotion laden interactions with family members, partners and key managers should give way to an understanding that spouses and children who are not exposed to the intensity of day to day business interactions are not equipped to handle the uncensored blow by blow daily description of what takes place in a family business. Spouses and children are aggressively protective and they will connect the dots of “emotional downloading” as dastardly attacks on their love one. Their natural response is to defend and viciously attack those who do not respect or who allegedly is taking advantage of their love one. Those who are not used to the realities of on-the-job emotions will jump to incorrect conclusions and build up powerful resentment towards in-laws, cousins, key managers, partners, etc. that can severely damage the outer family harmony that is critical to achieving inner business teamwork. Uncontrolled downloading can create emotional flash fires that can be blown totally out of control over issues that otherwise would have blown over in a day or so in the normal course of business.

To the point: family members should think twice about immediately crying on the shoulder of intimate, uninvolved family members about highly emotional experiences that are common place in the family business. Keep in mind that totally supportive spouses and family members can go from zero to hate in less than five seconds. Hate is extremely difficult to remove. Try to find a way to deal with the highly emotional frustrations of the office until you can find some virtue in the both sides of the argument or issue. Try expressing yourself to someone other than a totally supportive family member first. Subsequently when you do share your experiences you will have more control your feelings and you will not incorrectly promote lasting animosity within you spouse and children toward your, parent, brother, sister or partner. Then, when your brother or parent invites you and your spouse over for dinner or on a family vacation, your spouse will not raise hell about why you continually patronize family members who are out to take advantage of you. Trust me, this self control will later make your greater family life simpler and support outer family business harmony which in the long term is just as important as inter family business harmony.


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