Navigating Tough Times: Effective Communication in Family Business
When you mix family and business, navigating through tough times can be a daunting task. Economic downturns and recessions can exacerbate pressure and lead to heightened emotions. All parties must put in extra effort to regulate their feelings and aim for constructive communication. Even in regular times, successful communication is not always easy, and during a crisis, it becomes even more challenging. It is important to acknowledge that communication has two fundamental aspects: expressing oneself and actively listening to others. Let us explore these two components.
Listening to Yourself
When it comes to family relationships, we often make the mistake of assuming that our loved ones understand our needs, emotions, opinions, and even the unspoken messages we convey through our body language, which accounts for 93% of our communication. However, relying on mindreading can lead to negative emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, hurt, disappointment, and loneliness. To avoid these complications and improve our communication skills, it’s essential to start by listening to ourselves. This involves asking questions like “What do I really think about this?” and “What am I feeling right now?” to gain clarity and express ourselves more effectively.
Expressing Yourself Clearly and Positively
Express your emotions and viewpoints clearly, candidly, and positively. Concentrate on how the problem or circumstance is impacting you, rather than accusing the other person or highlighting something they did or stated that you believe is causing your reaction. Being concise and precise is crucial. Don’t shy away from challenging discussions due to apprehension about how the other person will react. This is a genuine obstacle for many of us.
It’s important to be mindful of your non-verbal communication when interacting with your family. They are familiar with you and can often interpret your tone of voice, facial expressions, and posture faster than your actual words. On the other hand, becoming a good listener takes a lot of dedication. When you listen intently, you show others that you value their thoughts and encourage them to share what’s important to them. Effective listening requires an attitude of respect, openness, and acceptance. Even if you don’t agree with your family member’s opinions, it’s crucial to acknowledge that they are an individual with their own unique perspectives.
Active listening necessitates attentiveness. Temporarily set aside your current task, abstain from devising a reply while they speak, and demonstrate an intention to genuinely listen. Verify your comprehension of their emotions. Elucidate, “Are you implying that…?” Reaction aids in accomplishing the communication cycle. This cycle encompasses expressing to the listener, the listener perceiving, the listener clarifying what they heard, and the speaker confirming that they heard accurately – cycle done. Any expedited approach to that cycle constitutes inadequate communication.
Improving Communication in Family Business
Combining family and business requires effective communication, which can be a challenge. It’s important to understand that communication involves not only verbal but also non-verbal cues. One way to enhance communication with family members is by taking the time to listen to yourself, being transparent and honest in expressing your thoughts and emotions, paying attention to non-verbal communication, and practicing active and respectful listening. Being in the same location does not necessarily mean effective communication is taking place. To improve communication, it’s helpful to schedule time for communication and establish a family business council to tackle difficult conversations and enhance overall communication.
Contact Us, and we can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business immediately.
Family and Business alignment is hard to find when business issues liven up family dynamics.
However; with proper process, governance policies, and mutual respect built over time, a Family Business can thrive through multiple generations. Click the following links for more drill-down resources on Family Dynamics and Family Governance.