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Leadership and Team Management in a Family Business It's an amazing feeling when one has a family at home and a much larger family in the office

By Rupal Dalal

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Drawing from one's experiences, one realizes that leadership can never be only associated with the designation, rather the impact a person has on employees. And these teachings need to be passed on to the next generation, in hopes to make them better leaders for tomorrow.

Why is it Different?

The fact that a family business model is different from the corporate model, cannot be questioned. Generations of work culture are influenced by the values, ethics and experiences of the founders making the atmosphere friendlier and directors more approachable.

One often aims to understand employees to create stronger bonds with them and among them. Taking the quote "None of us is as smart as all of us" into consideration, teamwork is crucial for any organization and effective and efficient team management can help employees realize individual's, as well as the company's goal.

However, each generation's leadership may share a common heritage and embody the same values, but the medium of command and approach still may differ. For example, if a founder holds daily review meetings in the boardroom, the third generation could just ask for the day-report on mail and generate a weekly review sheet, remotely.

It is about taking the family business to great success. Fostering passionate young minds to carry on the legacy. While the new generation might adopt a more democratic approach and create an active community, where ideas are accepted more easily; the first generation would be focused on the functionality of each position to fulfil the skill it demands.

The flow of ideas was different 30 years back when only senior management or the leadership used to sit in a room and brainstorm for hours for deducing the future-plan of action. Today the designations do not limit people. It is believed fewer than 30 per cent of successful family business make it to the third generation.

The Framework

It is about developing a clear framework for the future of the business and the family while teaching the future generations the analytical skills to ensure they can evaluate the dynamics of the workplace. One must accept that there are no specific personality traits or skills sets that could describe an ideal leader, but one can identify capabilities in line with the values that the business offers and these values are constantly reflected while each generation communicates with the team. The point is to initiate a two-way dialogue, it's amazing how every individual has a different perspective on multiple projects. One must remember that the employees are part of the sample audience and their feedback is crucial to the policies.

Sense of Bonding

The family learns together both at home and at the office, the fact that one has fostered openness, has helped utilize the strength of the employees. Being married to continuing the family legacy makes the workplace and home one and the same. The new generation becomes a part of the business from a young age, involved in the discussions and decision-making processes, and moreover questioned and challenged to ensure they are in the habit of rationalizing each idea. The Hermes family member once said, "You don't inherit a family business; you borrow it from your grandchildren."

Well, some might say it's a tricky job to keep the business and family apart, but why keep them apart? It's comforting to have the family a knock on the door away, be it the bedroom door or the cabin door.

A true leader motivates one's team to surge ahead with full confidence and is always there to support and guide.

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