Help! My Dad Retired from the Family Business Years Ago but Still Tries to Run It and It’s Causing a Lot of Problems

It can be difficult when a parent retires from their job within the family business but continues to act as if they are still in charge. They may make unnecessary demands or try to micro-manage things that are no longer their responsibility. This can cause tension and conflict among other family members who are trying to run the business smoothly. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to set boundaries and communicate effectively with your parent. So, let’s discuss some tips for how to do that.

The “Unable to Let Go” Syndrome

Some people, be it a father, mother, or even another family member, who’s worked for long periods of time in a family business regard the company as part of their identity. It’s simply part of who they are and therefore, it’s not easy to walk away. It becomes even more difficult when handing the operation over to children, who don’t have all their years of experience.
One of the most agonizing experiences that any business faces is moving from one generation of top management to the next. The problem is often most acute in family businesses, where the original entrepreneur hangs on as he watches others try to help manage or take over his business, while at the same time, his heirs feel overshadowed and frustrated. Paralleling the stages of family power are stages of company growth or of stagnation, and the smoothness with which one kind of transition is made often has a direct effect on the success of the other. —Harvard Business Review
Unsurprisingly, this can easily lead to a father, mother, aunt, uncle, or even a cousin to hang around. Perhaps to the extent that he or she still continues to “run” the business, without the permission of their successors. He or she may make promises, enter into deals, or offer discounts that undermine the new authority of their successive family member(s). Of course, this can cause resentment, anger, frustration, and might also be the cause of unnecessary fighting and/or financial trouble.

How to Deal with a Parent Who Keeps Interloping in a Family Business After Retiring

Fortunately, if you’re in a situation where one or more of your family members has retired but still continues to interlope in the family business, there are steps you can take. First, you need to have a discussion with your parent about their role in the business now that they are retired. It is important to be respectful yet firm in this conversation. Explain to them that while you value their opinion, they need to respect the fact that you are now running the business. This means that they should not try to make decisions or give orders without consulting with you first. You may also want to set some ground rules about how often they can come into the office or participate in business meetings. It is also important to stay calm and avoid getting into arguments with your parent. If they continue to try and take control, it will only escalate the situation and make it more difficult to resolve. Instead, try to have a rational and calm discussion about the situation. If necessary, you may need to involve other family members or even a mediator to help resolve the situation. Additionally, it may be necessary to speak privately with any customers who aren’t completely clear about who is actually running the company and who makes the decisions. This could help in the future with communication and in other important areas. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to set boundaries and communicate effectively with your parent. By doing so, you can hopefully avoid conflict and maintain a healthy relationship with your parent. Have you ever dealt with this type of situation? What would you do to resolve it? Please take a moment to share your experiences and thoughts so others can benefit from your input. Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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