For entrepreneurs who start up a business, there will be little to doubt about their credibility. They started, progressed and built success. For those who they bring along to create a family business, there may be work to do so that other employees respect them too.
It can be tough to be a family member introduced into a business. There will always be those who will see the son or daughter of a family business owner as ‘privileged’ in some way. There are great opportunities that can be used to ensure that incoming family earn their stripes and, over time, gain the full support of other employees as they start the climb the ladder to ultimately to run the business.
So here are 7 tactics for aspirational family members to try on and make the most of, for their successful future.
- Experience the Bottom – whilst it’s a bit of cliché to start at the bottom, there’s no harm in it at all. By experiencing the family business at the sharp end, much can be learnt about the nuts and bolts. It’s a good time to sharpen social skills too and, where necessary, absorb the nudges and winks when the boss’s son/daughter is on the job.
- Build Relationships – it takes time to create and nurture relationships. With everyone on the team adding value, investing the time to get to know people and what makes them tick is vital intelligence for future business leaders. Often young family members will be fortunate to be able to start in a hands-on role and build relationships for the future that will be of huge value.
- Make Mistakes – no-one likes a smartass, least of all when they come with the silver spoon of family in their mouth. Making mistakes – and being seen to make them – is a good culture to develop. The key is to be gentle with making mistakes and show that there is learning in them, making mistakes of great value.
- Spend time Not Knowing – when a new join starts their career, there’s no doubt there’s a lot to learn. A family member might, because of their awareness of matters expressed away from the business, know more than others. Wisdom would suggest that it’s better to show you know less than you do and enjoy being in the team while you can, rather than be superior.
- Be Respectful – whether you are at the top of the tree or down by the roots, everyone has a part to play. When you spend time with general staff, you have the opportunity to see the value in the part everyone plays in a successful family business. Showing respect to all levels in the business is critical for successful leadership roles in the future. So starting out that way will help others show respect too.
- Keep Boundaries – one of the challenges that many managers experience is how far you go to maximize the rapport you have with the team. Being ‘one of the boys’ is important for camaraderie and relationship building. Being able to draw the line is the bigger challenge. There is a boundary to find that balances the two and there is an even finer line for family members learning their trade.
- Be a Better Listener than Talker – this is an old one and still one of the best. By listening to others there are a number of benefits. You learn more; you gain intelligence; you build rapport; others respect you and more. By listening, you also say less, which will, if there is a tendency to say too much, be an advantage too.
These are just a few key pointers that will help a family member on entry to a family business, gain credibility fast. It’s a wonderful opportunity that not everyone has, so taking the opportunity to use it well is a great gift.