Family Conflict Management for Business Owners

When small business owners are busy burning the midnight oil, it is not uncommon for conflicts to arise with spouses and family members. How do you deal with it without compromising your business-- or your family?

Running a small business is not just a nine-to-five job — it can easily consume evenings and weekends as well. Often, this kind of dedication is necessary for a company to grow. But unfortunately, it can intrude on personal time and family life.

When small business owners are busy burning the midnight oil, it is not uncommon for conflicts to arise with spouses and family members. The key to surviving such difficult times is to be aware of what is causing the tension — and that means bringing your feelings out into the open. However busy you might be, family conflicts should not go unresolved. It’s hard to succeed in business when business becomes a source of personal stress. It may be helpful to think of the following points:

The Conflict Is Temporary- It helps to remember that your life isn’t going to be like this forever. Your company might be acquired by another company; you might even decide to shut it down — or simply move on to another opportunity. Remember that as you hire additional employees and delegate more of your responsibilities to them, you’ll have less work to bring home from the office.

See Problems as Opportunities- Look at each conflict that arises as a milestone on the road of your family’s life. As you work through these problems together, your relationship will grow stronger.

Keep Your Priorities Straight- No business is as important as the people you love. Although you can’t survive on love alone, your business can survive if you leave some of your work behind at the office. Try not to take out your job- related frustrations on your family. If you find yourself becoming irritable, try taking a walk — or, even better, simply setting your work aside for the night.

Compromise Is the Key- Both you and your family will have to accommodate each other’s needs to arrive at a satisfactory solution. If you find that take-home work is continually intruding on your home life, set up a home office where you can work without disrupting the normal household routines. That way, you can work undisturbed and your family won’t have to tiptoe around you.

Agreements- If you go through a period when you need to do a lot of work at home, communicate this fact to your family so they know you’ll be occupied. It isn’t fair to bring work home when your spouse is planning an elaborate meal for the evening and counting on you to be present. The more everyone knows about each other’s schedules, the less likely it is that misunderstandings or conflicts will occur.

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