Working in a Family Business: Is the Psychological Price Tag Too High?

Working in a family business is a dream come true for some people. For others, it’s a rite of passage or something that is simply expected when you reach a certain age. Family businesses represent history, tradition, and togetherness. 

There are many benefits that come from working in a family business. Often, it allows for a bit of flexibility with your schedule, you get to work with people you love, and you get to leave a lasting legacy behind.

But there can also be issues connected to working in a family business that may cause psychological distress. Understanding some of these problems can help you to sort them out and make the most of carrying on your family name through a successful business.

Consider some of the challenges.

Managing Difficult Family Dynamics

Every family has its unique dynamic. It’s what makes everybody different! Even though you’re family, no two people will always have the exact same ideas.

When you’re running a business, you have to be prepared for a lot of opinions. So, you may face certain hierarchy issues within the business. Older family members might believe they have more say in what happens. That can be a big problem, especially if you have older siblings who want to take charge. 

One of the best things you can do is to establish roles for your business. Determine who is in charge, who is second in command, and so on. While it might seem strange at first to give your family members “job titles,” it can keep everyone from butting heads when it comes to big decisions. 

Dealing with Blurred Boundaries

While one of the benefits of a family business is often flexibility, it’s something that shouldn’t be abused. Like any other job, every family member should be subject to certain boundaries. 

Once it’s determined who is in charge of the business and the hierarchy that follows, boundaries can be put in place. They might include getting to work on time, a certain dress code, cell phone policies, or how to interact with each other and with customers. 

At the end of the day, a family business is still a business. A sense of professionalism needs to be in place in order for it to remain successful. Boundaries help to ensure that success. 

Making Other Employees Feel Like Family

Almost every business needs additional employees to succeed. Family businesses are no exception, especially if you want to grow. 

But it’s important to treat non-familial employees the same way you do family employees. Favoritism toward family members is something you’ll have to stamp out from the get-go. If you don’t, it could throw off the entire dynamic of your business, and you might have a hard time finding more employees willing to work for you. 

Understanding the Ups and Downs of a Family Business

The idea of working in a family business shouldn’t scare you off. Like any other type of business (especially when you’re just starting out), it can have its good and bad moments. 

Are there some risks? Absolutely. But these are things that can be discussed calmly with the people you care about most. If you’re willing to focus more on the business side of things and less on the family side, you’re more likely to find success. 

If you’re a part of a family business and you’re concerned that the psychological price tag is too high because family dynamics are getting in the way, feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group.

Together, we can talk about some possible root issues that could be causing tension between your family members. By working through those issues, you can fully focus on your business and how to help it grow.