Family farms and working in an environment where you are dealing with your family at a business level is a very unique circumstance that most people don’t have when ‘going to work’. The dynamic between sibling relationships, marriage relationships and parent relationships can often present issues. Issues with the dynamic of the family business can often lead to disagreement which inevitably can affect the profitability and resiliency of the farm. Having good communication, understanding the best working relationship and having regular meetings are a great way to make the family business as productive as possible. Some tips to help with communication include:
- Forgive – being able to accept forgiveness with certain disagreements will allow you to move on from those places
- Take breaks – working and often living on a family farm may cause you to butt heads with each other. Take time where you can separate yourself from the family dynamic and do something by yourself. This could be taking up a hobby, practising mindfulness, going for a walk or spending time with friends outside the family unit
- Identify your common goals – often the journey to achieving goals can be different and may cause disagreement. If you can lay out your common goals and identify what you want to achieve it will make you realise you all have the same end goal but the journey to reach that may be different for all
- Understand and communicate your strengths – talking about what you are good at and where your strengths lie will support in the strategic plan of the farm. Focussing on where your strengths lie and what your differences are will allow you to break down certain barriers and be productive on a personal and business level
- When meeting as a family, set ground rules – espect each other’s thoughts and discussion points, you don’t need to agree on everything but understand why they have that point of view. Focus on the issues that you have come to discuss and don’t get sidetracked. Don’t make anything personal. Ensure that someone is making a note of the decisions you are making so that they can be monitored when put into practice
- Consult professionals – you may feel you need to involve a third party in your conversation or support in helping the family communication, because of the close relationships between family members and partners some issues can be difficult to resolve satisfactorily. FCN volunteers can offer support to everyone who is involved while remaining impartial and objective. Call the FCN Helpline on 03000 111 999 who may be able to help.
- Relate is the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, for further information click here.
- Talk to someone here.
- Find your nearest Relate here.
- Refuge is a domestic abuse service that offers 24/7 free helpline: 0808 2000 247, the helpline is confidential and you will be put through to a highly trained female adviser.
Women’s Aid are an organisation working to provide life-saving services, building a future where domestic violence is not tolerated, click here to find out more.
Report domestic abuse here.