Alberta Business Family Institute (ABFI)

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution Techniques for Family Business

Working in a family business is both rewarding and challenging. Unlike a non-family workplace, however, dealings with colleagues may be subtly influenced by lifelong relationship patterns which necessitate special conflict resolution techniques.

As Peter and Susan Glaser of the University of Connecticut's Family Business Program explain, every message communicates on two levels the informational level and the unconscious relationship level. Falling into destructive old patterns of seeing family a certain way, called "selective perception," risks the health of your organization. It is possible to avoid these problems, however, through training in family workplace conflict resolution.

Conflict Resolution Tips to Help Your Multi-Generational Enterprise

Faced with compelling differences or a complex dispute, some business families resort to conflict resolution in formal negotiation known as mediation. This process often enlists a trusted third party. The advantage of mediation is that it is a consensus-based method and less expensive than strategies such as litigation.

There are conflict resolution techniques that may pre-empt the necessity for such drastic steps however. Conflict resolution tips include describing feelings, focusing on the specifics, acknowledging responsibility, collaboration and follow-up.

Proactive Workplace Conflict Resolution with a Family Focus

Good communication, consensus-building and strong leadership are important tools for business. The Alberta Business Family Institute can teach you family-focused, proactive conflict resolution techniques and activities, whether you are an owner, a family employee, or a trusted advisor.

Learn more about our Family Leadership training series, along with useful articles, workshops, videos and advice on conflict resolution and effective communication for professionals working within a family enterprise.