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Dealing with “that” relative

By February 16, 2016July 12th, 2023Management and Leadership3 min read

So, there’s this guy named Kanye West. Ever heard of him? How could you not, right? Even if you’re not in to the pop culture scene, you probably know he’s shocked a lot of people with his bravado. In a recent Tweet, West claimed to be $53 million in debt and asked that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg invest $1 billion in him as “the greatest artist of all time.”

Hmm. Greatest of all time AND $53 million in debt?

Sadly, we all work with someone like Kanye – although maybe not to his extreme. But we all have someone in our lives whose confidence is off the charts; whose personality enters the room a full minute before he/she arrives.

In a family business setting it can be difficult to work with such a dominant personality, especially when they double as your brother, sister – or heaven forbid – your parent.  When working with such an individual, it is important to:

  1. Encourage teamwork within your family business. No one is an island. But sometimes dominant people tend to be self-starters and prefer to work alone. If you need some help generating ideas for team building activities, we offer the ReGENERATION Partners Experience (RPXP). We develop activities for your family business that can improve your team’s dynamics.
  1. Interact with them “on their level”. You don’t have to be confrontational, but you also don’t need to back down. For example, during last night’s Grammy’s presentation, pop music artist Taylor Swift, took that opportunity to address Kanye’s recent comments that HE was the key to HER success:

    “As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift said.” But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” 

    Well said, Taylor – a “swift” (pun intended) rebuttal that didn’t poke the bear.

  1. Give them a challenge that takes them out of their comfort zone. Growth doesn’t come without some kind of effort or unease. Sometimes the dominant person in your family business is just bored, or feels like they’ve mastered their role. Find a program that has been neglected and let them take a swing at it. Trying to figure out the “how” of a complex project can lead to a sense of teamwork.

There’s no silver bullet that addresses every dominant personality in a family business. But, there are ways to encourage your “Kanye” to use their confidence to improve your team’s productivity and success. Over the last two decades, our team has worked closely with every type of personality within a family business. If you’re struggling to create some cohesiveness among your family business team, give us a call we have a solution.