Tips & Tricks

Should a company be like a second family?

You've probably heard a company owner or employee say that they call their team their “family”. Despite the good intentions behind these words, equating workplace relationships with family relationships can have negative connotations.

More and more companies like to point out how they promote and nurture family relationships among employees, and is this really the case and is it necessary for people to connect in this way in business and professional life? Does such a relationship and atmosphere represent too much overlapping of business and private life and what values ​​are implied by that? Can the term company as a family evoke different connotations? Forbes provides answers and advice on how to build trust and good relationships in the company.

Family work culture

You've probably heard a company owner or employee say that they call their team their “family”. Despite the good intentions behind these words, equating workplace relationships with family relationships can have negative connotations. For example, family dynamics may imply that it is necessary to make certain sacrifices for the betterment of the company, rejecting one's own individual needs or personal development goals. However, there are strategies leaders can develop to create an effective work culture built on trust and respect. Here are some ways to change the negatively perceived "family" work culture to a more positive and productive one.

Focus on the uniqueness of talent

Although usually well-intentioned, the primary problem with using this term in the workplace implies that there are "children" in the family dynamic, rather than a group of adults with unique talents and skills that are used for the benefit of the organization. Also, there are very real gender, age, and even ability differences within these dynamics that create barriers to equity within organizations.

Work and clear expectations

Leaders must clearly, but in a beautiful way, determine how people should behave and communicate with each other. Encouraging authenticity, recognizing and effectively resolving conflict in a constructive manner, and clarity about what constitutes unwanted behavior should be part of this initial framework.

Ensure clarity

If equating the organization with a "family" is the true intention, keep in mind that people understand and accept that there are struggles and dysfunctions in every family. Learn that when these behaviors occur, the family just has to work a little harder. Show a little more grace and tolerance. Never accept disruptive behavior. If culture change is the goal, the first step is recognition.

Celebrate your team

Words matter, a company that positions itself as a family may be setting an expectation of unconditional acceptance. The team culture demands excellence, values ​​skills and expertise, embraces precision and standards, actively coaches and rewards. To build an inclusive and inspiring team, reward defense and assists with the same attention as the person who scored the goal—celebrate the team to win.

Bad consequences

When employees work with the idea that the company is their family, there is a high chance that their productivity will decrease over time, but also that they will experience burnout. If the bosses do not take some steps, there is a danger that this 'burnout' at work will begin to be perceived as a normal consequence of a large (and expected) engagement for the benefit of the company/family. In such structures, giving negative feedback, as well as dismissal, is experienced as extremely personal. This is not surprising if one takes into account that, by creating a family structure at work, one gains the illusion that these ties are unbreakable, eternal. Just as an employee is emotionally and professionally engaged more than necessary, he expects the same thing from his boss. As Harvard Business Review continues, instead of promoting a family mentality, modern companies should focus on creating a structure that gets the best out of employees (their talent, skills, knowledge) and treat them more like a team or a tribe.

Such a culture is based on empathy, a sense of community and belonging, but, unlike a family culture, it does not ask employees for their emotional involvement (it comes spontaneously, people get closer through cooperation); that way they don't feel guilty, inadequate, hurt, and they don't please other family members (especially bosses) in a way that is toxic and harmful. Also, it is necessary for employees to know exactly what is expected of them, what are the rules of the game, and establish a clear boundary between business and private life. In the end, it's really nice to work in an environment where employees feel at home, but work is still - work. They didn't get a job because they need a family, but to cash in on their knowledge and skills in eight-hour working hours.

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