Family business? Here’s to fight the right way!
I should probably be clear right off the bat that I’m never looking to fight with my brother. Far from it. But let’s be real: We’re going to naturally have different perspectives on things, we’re not always going to agree, and we need to know how to navigate those situations successfully so that we can make the right decisions, avoid harboring hard feelings, and stay focused on what’s next.
My brother, Chris Workman, is the Senior Director of Technology at Cardone Ventures, and for me and for Brandon, his role creates inherent communication challenges, because Cardone Ventures is not a tech company, nor would Brandon or I consider ourselves tech experts.
The moment that Chris starts using terms like SaaS, SAML, IDP, and getting into server speak, I’m immediately lost. Communication issues are built into our differing roles. Add family dynamics to that equation, and there’s the potential disaster, both for the business and for our relationship.
So, with that in mind, here are some ways that my brother and I approach fighting, communication, and handling conflict as siblings in business.
Never have a family member report to you
I would never want Chris to report to me. Brandon’s brother, Josh, also works for Cardone Ventures, and he would never want Josh to report to him, either.
We just feel that it creates a separation of church and state, so to speak, where we can still work closely together on projects but without the potential awkwardness or conflict that, like, one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, or negative perceptions from other team members that such a reporting structure could create.
Fighting with your sibling? Don’t go low.
When you’re in the middle of an argument, you’re not always your best self. And when you’re arguing with a sibling, it can be so easy to slip into the emotional dynamic that you had when you were children, often resulting in saying things that are irrelevant to the topic at hand, anything but constructive criticism, and that are basically low blows.
Nothing good comes from it. Your colleagues will probably lose respect for you. And you still haven’t solved the problem.
Focus your debate on the actual business problem you’re trying to solve. Always.
When things get heated, remove yourself from the situation
In those moments where you find yourself in a heated argument, you hope that your better angels are going to tell you to focus on the task at hand, but let’s be honest: there’s a devil on your shoulder and it’s telling you to light this guy up.
Despite how satisfying this might be at the moment, nothing good will come from it. You need to control your emotions, suppress the urge to say regrettable things, and remove yourself from the situation.
But you can’t just let things lie. And this brings me to my next point.
Never go to bed mad
I abide by this rule in every relationship that I have. It’s my commitment to resolve these situations before bedtime.
Everybody needs a little time to cool off, but never attempting to resolve things and never getting an apology will turn that cooling off period into festering feelings of negativity.
Give each other some space, but then be the bigger person and work that stuff out.
Keep it private
You cannot, I repeat, cannot have these fights publicly.
Here’s the thing, even if you have a family business, the rest of your team does not want it to feel like a family business. What I mean by that is that no one wants to feel all the weird baggage that families can harbor towards each other.
In this context, the business comes first. You should be focused on its goals, working towards the future, and not poisoning the well by pulling others into your arguments. It’s a recipe for a toxic work environment. Avoid it at all costs.
Family businesses are often the most successful, but they can be the most volatile if they’re not approached with the right strategies and mindset.
If you want to learn more about this as well as other ways in which you can 10X your business, then join me and the Cardone Ventures team at our next live event!
Every aspect of the business is explored, and I can guarantee you that this will be the most important event that you attend this year. Register now before your space is gone!