Monday 19 February 2018

Problem Solver: My young son just isn't credible and hasn't got the respect of our workforce

Feargal Quinn
Feargal Quinn

Feargal Quinn

Q: I am in my 60s and I run a successful business. My son, who is now 27, has been in the business for four years and is simply not credible and doesn't have the respect of the team. What should I do?

A: This can be a distressing situation for some business owners and I have come across it a number of times. Giving your son a job or a position of responsibility simply because he is your son is not going to work and it will do damage to both him and your business.

Clearly the team don't respect him because he is not credible and that is a major issue.

I have no doubt your son can sense this also so this is probably a classic 'elephant in the room' scenario. The only way to tackle these things is head on. Sit with your son and be honest on how you view his performance and find out how he feels and what his aspirations are.

He really only has two choices - improve quickly, or leave the business. In my own younger days I travelled extensively and worked in various different places around the world and it was probably the time in my career when I learned most.

I was forced to be independent as I was in another country on my own and I found the learnings gained in other people's businesses refreshing.

You may in fact be doing your son an injustice by allowing him to continue in the business.

It would be great if you could both come to the realisation that the best future for him and the business would be for him to leave the business in the short term and go and work for someone else in either Ireland or another country.

You may find in fact he could return to the business in five years time with a wealth of learnings which would benefit everyone. Right now this seems like a wrong fit.

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