Top tips for managing communication and conflict in a family business

Communication is one of the most critical aspects of a successful multi-generational business.

Updated 16 December 2015

Different personalities, competing goals and power dynamics can cause family members to butt heads and make decision-making a fraught process.

As advisers, we have observed that unresolved conflicts and unmet expectations can put thriving family businesses at risk. Below are our five golden rules to managing conflict:

1.      Use governance structures to reduce conflict

2.      Give family space and permission to talk

3.      Don’t let business bleed into family time (too much)

4.      Communicate early and often about issues

5.      Bring in experts to mediate major conflicts

In a recent live chat (transcript below) simple strategies were considered to ensure your family business clients are having effective, inclusive conversations. The transcript can be viewed below in the embedded window or downloaded as a PDF.

The live chat expert answering questions is David Harland CPA, Managing Director, FINH. Harland is an expert adviser to multigenerational family groups in business. He is a frequent and respected commentator in the sector and holds both national and international accreditation in the field of family advising and family wealth.

Read next: 5 tips for better family business communication


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