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Is your family member ready to manage?

Don Tyler for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 June 2022
Managers building a team

There are times when it is clear a family member has become a manager in the business before they were ready for the position and responsibilities.

When this occurs, there are production issues, conflicts, missed opportunities and a host of other problems that could have been avoided if appropriate due diligence had been utilized. In many cases, the individual had the basic skills needed to do the job, but an assessment of their ability to actually manage an area of the business was not fully considered.

Family businesses need to do an honest, logical assessment of when – and if – a family member is ready to go from regular production duties to managing an entire segment of the operation. Using a deliberate, structured decision-making process for the timing and appropriateness of this decision will prevent situations that range from inconvenient distractions to conflicts that result in irreconcilable differences.

Assess their general attitude

Transitioning into a management role requires the ability to maintain a consistent attitude regardless of the circumstances. In analyzing whether your son or daughter is ready to take on a management role for the first time, consider how they handle inconveniences, setbacks and disappointments. Do they overcome them quickly and get refocused on a solution, or do they dwell on them for hours – or days – lacking the ability to move on? When they make mistakes, how do they deal with them? Are they a person who admits it, accepts full responsibility and then takes the initiative to do whatever it takes to correct the issue? Or do they blame others, minimize it or go out of their way to justify that it was circumstances that could not be avoided?

Assess their emotional intelligence (EQ)

People have different levels of emotional intelligence or EQ. Their EQ reflects their ability to understand how the emotions and needs of themselves and others influence their interactions. People with low EQ tend to overreact to minor problems, act inappropriately in sensitive situations and lack self-awareness about their own emotions, comments and behaviors. They tend to be blind to the emotions others are feeling and therefore are assumed to be insensitive, uncaring and disconnected from other people’s state of mind. Individuals with a low EQ and a bad attitude are especially difficult to work for or work with and should certainly not be in a management position.

Some of the indicators of a person with high EQ include having an ability to thoughtfully consider and discern their feelings, pausing before reacting and seeking to personally grow from criticism or correction. In their interactions with others, it is easy for them to demonstrate empathy, offer praise and encouragement, provide helpful feedback and seek forgiveness. It is hard to inconvenience or offend these individuals. Their emotions are never the main driver of their responses or reactions. They have feelings just like everyone else, but those feelings are not the main source of how they make decisions, respond to situations or manage their life.

People with a high EQ are seen as authentic and genuine. They are quick to give others the benefit of the doubt and easily let go of mistakes made by others. Even in challenging situations where they are completely unfamiliar or lack experience, they are calm, interested, interactive and happy. They stay engaged and make the most of the situation they find themselves in.

Assess their professionalism

Developing an atmosphere of professionalism provides clear behavioral expectations for your family and staff. It also helps earn respect from the community, your vendors and other professionals. The level of professionalism in our business can make a big difference in negotiating equipment purchases and land agreements, and helps ensure we have the opportunity to work with the most qualified people our vendors can provide.

A professional atmosphere must be built over time, and we need to be certain our people can exhibit those traits. Some of the more common characteristics of professionals include politeness, composure, dependability, integrity, respectfulness, setting a good example, ethical, using appropriate language and having an attitude of service. Many other traits can be added to your family’s and business’s definition of professionalism. It is important to assess whether a person entering management will adhere to these traits in their daily interactions and decisions.

Assess basic behaviors

There are a set of personal attributes that do not require any talent. We should not have to teach a person to be on time, come to work each day with the appropriate attitude, put in the expected level of effort and be trainable. We also want them to have a basic level of motivation to do their job and approach their duties with the required levels of mental and physical energy. Any person in any job should bring these attributes with them to the workplace every day. A person in management must set this example in their own behaviors.

All new managers need to learn a variety of skills and must realize that developing those skills is a lifelong project. These lists of traits are a way to determine if your son or daughter – or any non-family individual – possess many of the soft skills needed so they can grow to become an effective, productive and capable manager in your business.   end mark

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For management and executive coaching, as a conference speaker or help with your employee and family business challenges, contact  by email Don Tyler ,  and website Tyler & Associates or by calling (765) 490-0353.

Don Tyler
  • Don Tyler

  • Founder
  • Tyler & Associates Management Coaching
  • Email Don Tyler

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