The sooner you can learn to appreciate different personality styles the sooner you’ll be on a path to success in the family business. Everyone is wired differently. Introverts, extroverts, big picture thinkers, detail oriented, you know who you are. It’s amazing to me how consistently this issue causes such angst and friction in family businesses. I should know. I experienced it firsthand. Uncle Walsh was methodical, conservative, detail oriented. I, on the other hand, was full of lots of big ideas, had the ability to sell the ideas, and struggled with details and follow through. We kind of drove each other crazy at times. Like most families we spent a lot of energy trying to convince each other that our style was the best style. That’s a lot of wasted energy. Had we learned to appreciate the strength of each other’s style, we could have made a great team. Rather than fight the style differences great teams learn how to appreciate each other, listen to each other and build on each other’s styles. Additionally smart businesses put people in positions that match their inherent style. Another source of dysfunction is having people in positions that are diametrically opposed to their natural style. The first step toward peace and progress is to take an online behavioral assessment. Most assessments will very quickly and accurately help your team identify its team members natural style as well as the strengths and blind spots of each style. After that your team should openly discuss the different styles and make agreements about the best way to communicate with each other and work together. From there, it’s all about practice. Your natural style will not change over time. What you can hope for is to have greater awareness of your style and how you might modify your behaviors in certain situations to better work with the different styles. People need to learn to speak the language of other styles. For me that meant as I cooked up another new idea to present it to Uncle Walsh, I should think first about what he would want to hear; details, costs, and how risky was the new idea. As I learned to talk in his language I had a much higher chance of success. The key to working with different personality types is to first understand that every type has inherent value. Next speak to each other keeping in mind each other’s style. Lastly, learn to take into consideration everyone’s perspective as you develop your ideas and approach your work. If your want to see the different styles in action in a short funny video we made click here: Don’t allow personality differences to ruin your family business experience. Learn to realize that the differences are going to be there and the sooner you learn to work with them, as opposed to fighting them, the sooner you will have a longer and more successful working relationship. When you take the best each style has to offer you’ll be a stronger team!
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