We are often asked what it's like working with family. Short answer: it can be tough. Now, here's the long answer.
Working with family is just like working with another group of co-workers. Everyone has a different idea about how or when something should be done. The difference between working with family vs co-workers is the fact that this is your FAMILY! It's unfortunate to say but you don't have to be friends with co-workers. Your family is here to stay. I've seen many families in my industry and others that simply cannot figure out their differences.
Herein lies the key to making it all work. LISTEN! At least try to listen to other's point before jumping to conclusions. Their idea just might be better than yours if you'd just hear it out and be open to new thoughts. If nothing else, there is probably a combination of the ideas that work best.
The listening thing is something I have struggled with myself. I was the one that didn't listen and jumped to conclusions. This in turn made me the guy that was needing to fix the "relationship" if you will. It's not fun, but it's doable if you find yourself in this situation. It is a challenge to overcome this way of thinking and it won't happen overnight. It takes a number of times realizing that you messed up and should have listened, to begin making the change for the better.
Fixing the situation. This is where the relationships will fall apart, if nothing is done time after time. If you know you made a mistake, own up to it. Whether it was a case of you not listening and being completely wrong, or just the fact that you didn't give the other person the time of day to hear them out. Give up some of your pride from time to time. Apologize and I mean truly apologize. Promise to work on fixing your attitude if this is a regular occurrence and then follow through with that promise. Maybe this isn't your issue. Maybe you're on the other side of the conversation.
If you find that your on the other end of these arguments, don't be afraid to forgive. This is not easy in itself, especially if it happens regularly. Try not to hold a grudge as this puts more tension on the relationships. When the timing is right, talk to the other person about your feelings. It may take a few times mentioning it and even more arguments but hopefully they'll come around.
Farming and business with your family is a tough gig, but it can and should be something to be truly proud of. Remember, in the end, this is your family. Whether it is agriculture, business or just family life in general. You don't want to look back and regret anything.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this post. Let me know your thoughts and whether you'd like to read more about farm and business life. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas about what you might like to know about farming, business or life. Thanks for reading!