Working with Family Members: Finding the Balance

I remember being the younger generation in the workplace. I’m not, anymore. I’m also working with family, as in a daughter. So, you think you have challenges at work, let me help you feel like you are doing a great job!

In one of my first professional positions, I shared a secretary with a couple of attorneys in the office. I was working for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Antitrust Division. My secretary was eight years older than me, and had ten years experience. Welcome to the working world! It was baptism by fire (read hellacious experience). I walked on eggshells and never really developed a team approach with her. But hey, I learned, and thankfully moved on from there.

Mom or Boss:  Finding the Balance…
with Family Members

Working with Family Members can be a challenge

I always think of Haley Sue as my little girl!

If you read my earlier post, you know that I work with my husband and father-in-law. I also work with my daughter, Haley Sue. She handles the Social Media for Positive Dental & Vision, and helps me with it for my own  business. So, let’s just dive into the quagmire.

I’ve just recently, as in the past few months, gotten a Facebook account. I’m a fast learner on a lot of things, thanks to my Paralegal training and personality. Social Media is a skill and Haley Sue is an expert, this is what her business is all about.

A few months back, we were getting the website for the Positive Clinic ready to launch. Haley Sue was a full time college student, working part time, had clients for her social media business, and working on the college radio station as a DJ six days a week. She was busy.

“I just need you to be my Mom right now, not my boss!”
She also, moved back home last year to complete her degree, and as she says, lives in her parents’ basement. On this particular day, I really needed to talk with Haley Sue about something social media related she was doing for Positive. I hadn’t seen her for a few days, (see above), and we had only communicated by text. When I finally saw her, I began the conversation with business questions. BIG MISTAKE!!!

She tried to cut me off. I interrupted, and said, I only have a few minutes, could we please get this worked out? She stopped looked at me and said, “I just need you to be my Mom right now, not my boss!” With that, she said she was late and had to go.

Can Family Members Work Together

Keynote Speaker Deanna L Robinson

Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that Haley Sue has grown up and is a business woman in her own right.

Did I ever blow it! First and foremost, I’m a Mom to my kids. I’m not their boss, their co-worker, not even their friend. I’m Haley Sue’s Mom. I’d like to say, that was the last time I got things wrong with her. You guessed it, I did it again.

This time, I asked someone else how to handle something that is directly her responsibility. Haley Sue handles ALL social media, it actually is what her emphasis is for her degree. She even has other clients besides family that she works for. I asked 3C Marketing Group about a Facebook campaign, again for Positive. Woops!

Does it matter that it wasn’t my intention to undermine Haley Sue? Not really. It happened, intentional or unintentional. So, how do I proceed?

The same way I do with everything, using strength, dignity, and grace.

Working with Family is too Important…
to not Get It Right

I’ll use strength to stay in the battle. Working with family is too important not to get it right. I’ll be more diligent in being a Mom when appropriate, and being respectful of expertise when necessary.

Dignity will be necessary in how I handle myself, and Haley Sue.

The grace will be needed for myself when I don’t get it right, and for family as we all work together in the workplace, virtually and in person.

Back when I began my professional career, I felt as if I wasn’t respected for my education and/or position. Not so funny how I’m guilty of similar behavior, intended or not. Worse yet, it’s with a family member.

Are some behaviors just deemed to be repeated? Or, if we actually take the time to sit and reflect, can we avoid them? I’m hoping my mis-steps will be ending soon, I’m sure Haley Sue does too.

I would love to know how other families handle working together, across generations and inside of marriages.

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