Relationships in Family Businesses: 3 tips to better manage them

Family Business FBU Tools Relationships 64986-min

Knowing how to manage relationships is one of the most important skills for everyone's life and especially for entrepreneurs and family business members.


Every time we interface with someone, whatever the reason or the relationship, we activate our interests and emotions. This happens every day: from the fleeting gaze with a stranger on the street, to the three-hour meeting with colleagues in the office. If the context in which you work is a family business, the matter becomes even more complex: the economic interests are important and the emotions become more than significant.

In FBU we have created a set of tools for entrepreneurs in which there is also the LPD System: a list of skills you need to master in order to manage relationships, especially when they are emotionally challenging like those in family businesses. Here are the details of what we mean by LPD (Listening - Persuasion – Dialog).



1. Be silent. This is the first condition to allow the other to speak. Silence is recommended even when the speech seems to be concluded: it is better to avoid talking over until the other gives signals of having really finished.


2. Pay attention to your eyes, posture, gestures... Everything can invite the other to talk or hang up.


3. Be supportive. Encourage the other by repeating what you understood ("you mean that ...") and what the other feels ("I understand you don't like it ..."). Ask for explanation when you have doubts or when you think it differently ("I don't agree, help me understand what makes you say what you are saying ... ")




1. Try to connect with the other. You cannot persuade if you are not into a relationship. You have to put yourself in his/her shoes, finding points of connection and appreciation, offering listening and attention in order to receive the same behavior.


2. Instead of going straight to the point, start with more generic and shareable concepts to arrive at more specific and critical concepts. Create a gradual agreement in the group before going to the clash with those who have opposite opinions.


3. Be congruent. The strength of a thought is given by its solidity and its importance. You have to know when to speak and when to have the courage to admit limits and support convictions.




1. Defining the problem is already half the solution. Clarifying priorities and defining issues becomes particularly important in family businesses, where expectations are often not explicit and priorities are not shared.


2. Put yourself in the other's shoes, but have the courage to wear your own. When someone says what needs to be done, it somehow tells what he/she needs. Try to understand the reasons behind that belief.


3. After we understand each other's needs we can begin to build a shared solution.


How can we help you?


At FBU we have created some free tools to help you manage the different aspects of your business, including relationships. You can download them and use them independently or with your team.

Download the FBU Tools


If you need to better understand how to apply them in your business, do not hesitate to contact us!

Luca Marcolin

Author: Luca Marcolin