I was recently approached by a transportation company owner, I will call her Beth. Beth and her business partner both have adult sons that they would like to take over their business someday.
The partners named both sons Fleet Managers about a year ago. Beth’s son has proven to be very good at the job. He manages the people and equipment well and is very reliable. Beth’s partner's son is another story. His work habits are terrible and he often doesn't show up for work at all. The staff jokes about what time he will call in on sunny days. He has shown no signs of improvement in the last year. Beth didn’t know how to approach her partner and seemed genuinely surprised by my response to the scenario. I simply said:
He’s not ready.
Many people have missed opportunities because they were not ready for them. I suspect that her partner's son does not take any kind of work seriously, so I wouldn't take his attitude personally.
When people do not have a parent who owns a business, they usually get positions based on whether or not their superiors feel that they are ready and capable. Both sons have the same amount of love and expectations, but only one has the appropriate amount of ability and ambition.
Here's the thing - the show must go on!
When you have someone – anyone - who is slacking, it needs to be addressed. Find out where there are gaps in service. Not to blame anyone – people’s shortcomings are obvious. The purpose is to keep the business alive.
Show your partners where certain abilities are needed. Maybe their offspring can be fit into niches where they will be good. If not, just suggest a person to do the things that need to be done and deal with your partner's children as a separate issue. The most important thing is to keep it on a professional level. Nobody ever wants to hear something negative about their child! No comparisons, no insults, no suggestions about child-rearing.
Just give an objective look at things that have to be done and initiate a productive conversation about how to realistically handle them.
Dr. LaMar researches, writes, and speaks about personalities and relationships in the workplce. Her weekly e-newsletter “Drama Free Workplace"is available every Wednesday. Sign up at http://www.DramaFreeWorkplace.com .
Dr. LaMar also consults with growing businesses about how personality and processes can affect workplace dynamics. Her books “God Provides The Sacrifice: Women Discuss Making Their Hardest Decision" and “Drama Free Workplace" can be purchased in e-book format and paperback from her web sites or by calling 806-293-4094. Buy the Book! God Provides The Sacrifice: Women Discuss Making Their Hardest Decisions http://www.DrLaMar.com