There are lots of family businesses, not only in this country but around the world. For starters, all organizations are generally patterned after the family unit. The parents (Board Chair, CEO) have final decision making authority and are charged with looking after the welfare of the entire family (business).
While employees certainly aren't to be treated like children, they do have less power in the situation just like in a family. Overall, good leaders are like good parents. They make sure their charges feel loved and appreciated, but they don't "spoil" them; (not hold them accountable to do their part for the family) because it hurts everyone (poor financial results).
Mixing love and money is always challenging, and never more so than in family businesses. There are plenty of examples of successful family businesses, but you definitely need to have strong business skills and strong family skills. Here are some guidelines to help.
1. NEVER let making money become more important than the love of your family.
2. Be crystal clear about your family roles and your business roles.
3. Communicate proactively to stay ahead of destructive unresolved conflict.
4. Set boundaries for when "work talk" is off limits so work doesn't take over your relationship.
5. Make sure both your family and business relationships are win-win (since those are the only kind of relationships that last).
Copyright Terry Dockery, Ph.D. All rights reserved.