Conflict Resolution in Family Business

The scenarios describe a conflicted relationship between 2 brothers in a 2nd generation family business


The brothers had real challenges in working together.

The family had two different verticals - a trading business and a manufacturing business. The elder brother was largely managing the finances for both businesses and younger brother managed the trading vertical. After completing the discovery process. I met both the brother together to help them build alignment & resolve differences. As described by the younger brother the challenge was...

Younger brother: My elder brother constantly interferes in my business operations, influences my partners, meets with my bankers. He puts unreasonable pressure on me for small operational tasks in business.

Elder brother - Yes, because whatever you manage never gets completed in time and this is costing us money.

And again right there, they get into conflict. So I requested to meet both brothers individually.

Meeting with younger brother:

He begins by saying- You saw that, he is always putting the blame on me!

I (Sunil) asked him- How can we resolve this? -

Younger brother: No! my brother wont change, it better we get separate.

Sunil: Sure that is one option. Ok, what do you need from him, so you can work better together?

Younger brother: He has to be polite and not shout at me, he needs to respect me and for the least he needs to trust me for my work.

Sunil: Before closing, is this relationship important for you?

Younger brother: Sunil Ji if me and my brother will come together there is no one in the world who can defeat us. We have the power to deal with anything.

Meeting with younger brother:

I asked the elder brother - whats going on here?

Elder brother: I have no problem with him, he always feels I have issues with him. I am ready to help him wherever I can. My thing is let's work together and get the job done. Once the business is set its all sorted for everyone.

Sunil: Is this relationship important for you?

Elder brother: Yes!

Sunil: Do you realise the amount of pressure you create for him at work? He feels that you disrespect him and you don’t trust him.

Elder brother: But I have no such intentions

Sunil: Unfortunately, this is what your brother gets from you. Do you recognise that?

Elder brother: Not until now. What can I do to resolve this?

Sunil: Sure, how much do you value your brothers feeling.

Elder brother: I value him a lot

Sunil: So, can you let him know that today you realise the undue pressure you have created for him at work and apologise for that.

He accepted!

When brothers came together - they still had the heat from last argument. The elder brother took the initiative and said

Elder brother - "Bhai, I realise today that my approach at work has created a lot of pressure for you and I want to apologise for that.I am really sorry for my behaviour. Can we begin with a clean slate today?"

As soon as the younger brother heard his brother apologise for his mistake, he had tears in his eyes.

Younger brother - Bhaiya, I am sorry! I have been disrespectful to you as well. I didn’t mean it. I am ready to start afresh.

It took us 3 hours to make all the decisions which were stuck for last 8 - 9 months.

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