Running a family is a lot like being in charge of an organisation.
Like any organisation it is important that everyone knows who is leading, otherwise nothing gets done – there is little team work or respect – everyone makes their own decisions, rules are self-made and often conflict and confusion reign.
So the Directors (mum and dad) need to sit down, make a plan and agree.
If the Directors work well the rest of the team (children) are more likely to follow them as an example and respect and trust their decisions.
The Directors will need to sit together and talk about their vision, morals, mission, beliefs and values for their organisation. They will need to consider such things as –
Where they want to be?
What is important to them?
What is working well for them now?
What is not working so well?
How they can break ideas down into manageable steps
What tools and strategies they draw on in order to create a happy, harmonious positive, and productive organisation.
Once they have planned and agreed together, the next step is to filter it into the team with frequent discussion, flexibility, adaptability and evaluation.
Research shows that successful families hold regular team meetings –
It is up to the Directors to create a safe space where everyone in the team feels heard, valued, respected, empowered and listened to.
Nobody likes to be told what to do or wo have a finger pointed at them, so nagging, blaming and giving orders doesn’t help, it actually moves us further away from co-operation, teamwork and a harmonious happy organisation.
If something is wrong don’t blame the team – it is the one in charge that needs to learn to lead the team, model appropriate behaviours and motivate them to do better and get along. For that to happen we need to have a positive relationship with each team member based on respect not fear, cooperation not dictatorship.
Start the meeting with a round of positives, what went well this week, what positive things did you notice in each other, what are you grateful for etc, role model with your partner how to do this. Then state what you would like to change and why, what benefits it will bring to the team, embrace collaboration, connection and support from the team. This is an opportunity to bring everyone’s strengths and skills to the table to benefit the family community and culture.
Before the Directors ‘tell’ the team what they want or don’t want, how they think they should get there and who should do what or not etc, they should share with and ask the team how we can all make their organisation happy eg, ‘What rules do you feel we need in order to function better?’… ‘What would you like to see more or less of? … ‘How do you feel about…’
Together, with the Directors in charge to make sure the meeting doesn’t get out of control or an appointed Chairperson, have a safe discussion about what the organisation needs and how to get there and who will do what and when. With any new changes, there may be resistance at first.
Have regular team meetings, where everyone can realise their concerns, ideas, or topics to discuss – eg rules, chores and expectations, issues, resolving conflict, pocket money, problem solving, holidays, family outings etc. Team meetings will evolve and be unique for your organisation – shake it up and make it up.
How to Motivate the Team –
Nagging, commanding, blame and shame get the Directors nowhere – they should try instead to use more praise, encouragement and incentives. Everyone in the organisation is an individual, some will respond well to bonuses, others may want to feel involved and engaged with a project, some may want to learn and others may just want a cuddle! Try to find out by speaking, listening and watching the team to find out what works best for you all. Learn and grow together.
Try a team outing as often as possible, where they do something that everybody likes and is confident at, this will help the team to connect and get along better.
Once the Directors have worked alongside the team to create a safe environment, where everyone feels safe, listened to, empowered, valued and respected, the organisation will be a more happy, connected and harmonious place.
With time, consistency and perseverance you will see positive progress.
Mette & Jane