Although each family is a unique unit made up of unique individuals there are certain types of patterns that might be recognized as dysfunctional for its members. Most of them are characterized by a power imbalance, where one or more people take advantage another.
This may occur in a number of areas:
1. Physical - Abuse is never acceptable but some people batter or assault other people to try to maintain control over them.
2. Emotional - Instilling fear and using intimidation tactics can hold some people as prisoners within relationships.
3. Financial - Many people feel that they do not have a choice except to stay in bad situations because another person controls their money and therefore their options.
Those who are abusive often do not have healthy communication skills and therefore use bullying tactics to get their way. They may choose one or two people to target their frustrations or may actually have inappropriate interactions with everyone. The "secrets" that are associated with abuse, however, usually are revealed with time and when others learn about what has been going on, they usually do not want to have association with the abuser. As a result, the abuser's business will suffer.
But, it is not just abusive patterns that can hurt a business. Sometimes a family that holds onto traditional methods or ideas may lose business because they do not offer cutting edge products or services. Families who have a pattern of hoarding their money instead of expanding or improving their businesses might learn to regret this. And those families who practise dishonesty also risk losing respect and revenue.
On the other hand, if your family offers good, ethical services and products, if they invest not only in modernizing processes but also in professional development, you will likely be pleased with the way that your business grows. Even if you find yourself repeating some of the negative behaviours that you have watched other family members model, know that you can make positive changes. Do not allow anyone to be abusive to you or to others. Maintain a zero tolerance policy where you seek out professional services to help you if necessary.
It is time to get honest with yourself and your clients. Make sure that you and your staff treat others with respect and truth. Remember the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Family patterns can be changed but it may be up to you to take the first step.