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3 Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving Day Meltdown

By November 19, 2015July 12th, 2023Conflict Management3 min read

Thanksgiving is here! Not only do you get to work side-by-side with your family members, now you get to break bread with them this Thanksgiving! What a blessing! Or is it?

If you’re in a strained family business relationship, you’re well aware it may bleed over into your home life. But, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving with the same peace that our early settlers and Native Americans did.  If you’re worried that what’s going on in the family business will sour your holidays – DON’T. Here are three ways to avoid a meltdown and gobble up your Thanksgiving feast in peace.

  1. Leave the rolls…errr, roles at the office – At the office you may be the boss or manager, but at home be the grandparent, parent, brother or sister.  Take on the role that you had before you started signing paychecks. Don’t treat Thanksgiving as some kind of performance review. Before you hired your child as an employee, you raised them as your son or daughter. Before you called her boss, you called her mom. So, leave the family business roles at home so you can enjoy those warm, homemade buttered rolls that only grandma can bake.
  2. Eat a dish of humble pie – Ok. So you were right. Hiring that new sales consultant was the best advice in the history of the company. If you’re a family business rock star – take our advice, eat a big dish of humble pie before you show up for the holidays. Nobody needs to be reminded that you’re Superman.  In fact, they’ll be more thankful if you keep your aggrandizing to yourself. And what if you made a big mistake this year? Same goes for you. Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve. Swallow your pride – realize that mistakes are the stepping stones to greatness and every day is a new opportunity to prove yourself.
  3. Leave the carving for the turkey – Hurtful words last long and cut deep. So if there are tensions within family business relationships that you’ll encounter at the dinner table, be sure to mind your words. Don’t use a family holiday gathering to push your agenda with conversation that’s sure to create tension. Leave the “carving up” for the turkey and follow the 24-Hour Rule – if you’re offended or have something negative to say, wait 24 hours to think about your response.

The First Thanksgiving was truly a miracle, Native Americans opened their hearts and land to strangers who were seeking a fresh start. These two seemingly incompatible groups of people learned to work together in harmony despite their vast differences. They should be our example this holiday season. We should not allow the differences that naturally occur in family business relationships to disrupt our holidays. This is the season to be grateful for our families in all of their wonderful imperfections.

If you are struggling with managing conflict within your family and your business then we can help.