How best to prepare for the next up and coming effective Family Business Leader

Some reasons why business leaders fail to lead effectively:

  • Ego – thinking they can achieve things without anyone’s help and so find it hard to really collaborate with others.
  • No Vision – constantly engulfed in their comfort zone of daily operations and not thinking ahead and the future direction.
  • Control – Wanting to keep control at all costs, even at the cost of stopping their business organisation from developing further.

So how can the effective family business leader stand out ? Hereunder a few recommendations :

Putting one’s EGO aside – You need to collaborate!

Many business owners and business leaders who thrive on being competitive fear being overshadowed. Nevertheless, the notion of sharing the spotlight with others makes certain family business leaders anxious. It is likely that their sense of identity and success has been reinforced by years of individual achievement.

If the pandemic has really opened our eyes to something, is the fact that in such a situation organisations need everyone to handle the utmost of the complexities at all times, many times beyond their “normal” functions and duties. Family businesses require leaders of those functions to collaborate across the silos to deliver that value.

Family business leaders have to take a look around them and see that successful businesses achieve higher performance levels as a result of integrated efforts.

Building a Vision helps you realise you cannot get anywhere alone

Many times family business owners and leaders get engulfed in solving daily operational issues. Sometimes it makes them feel invincible or even irreplaceable. Many times they even get addicted to this adrenaline boost. This creates a sure comfort zone. However all this comes with many pitfalls. One of them is that such business owners start becoming completely engulfed in sorting the daily issues and addicted to the adrenaline boost they get when managing to deal with daily problems, leaving them no time to strategise and plan the future. Whenever business owners find time to think with a strategic mindset they will realise two very important cardinal truths:

  1. That many of their daily struggles can only be sorted and reduced by having a longer term strategic plan to address the root cause of such issues.
  2. That to execute a strategic plan to sort and address many issues, they need help and collaboration from persons around them.

Trust & Control

Many family business owners and leaders fail to lead effectively as they have a hard time trusting. They believe that attention to detail is their strength and their mistrust is further strengthened by some unfavorable outcomes in the past when they delegated to others. Add to that the common occurrence where business owners and leaders fear uncertainty and want to make sure that their decisions are on solid ground.

There is normally the same underlying narrative as why such business owners and leaders fail to trust – which is that people will take advantage of them if they let them in.

Understanding Yourself

Leaders need followers. You cannot be a leader if you do not have followers. To have followers you need to learn how to work, collaborate, communicate and convince others. Leadership is made up of a complex set of skills and attributes. It combines active listening, emotional intelligence, managing conflict, shared problem solving, self-regulation, humility, curiosity and a caring orientation towards others.


Becoming a better leader

Once you carry out an honest assessment and determine what keeps you from becoming a better leader, you can take steps to develop your skills. Current behaviours are a reflection of the person that, consciously or unconsciously, you believe you are. To be a better leader one first needs to adopt the mindset of a true leader. Here are some tangible ways to help becoming a better leader.

  • Be open to change and new ideas: Taking new perspectives is a prerequisite to empathy and compassion.
  • Value others equally and learn interdependence: Learn that for your business organisation to really move forward you need others working with you to succeed and they need you to succeed. Hence interdependence.
  • Act on what you learn. This will increase the changes that others start seeing you as a genuine leader. The key here is to be genuine.
  • Create moments of generosity. Look for intentional ways to help others without getting nothing in return. Notice what it feels like to give without getting
  • Share the spotlight and give credit. Find ways to purposefully cede the stage to someone else when it’s shining on you.
  • Ask for advice. Approach any one you trust, a competent friend, a knowledgeable business advisor with anything you need help on to become a better leader.

Leadership is a journey to an unachievable quest – that of becoming a perfect leader. There are many business leaders out there working on strengthening their leadership skills. In today’s hyper-connected world it is the inclusive, humble and other-oriented leaders that are seen as being the most credible and influential.


(All factual and statistical information presented in this blog has been obtained from an extract of a recent blog published by the Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at

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