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Better Communication Skills Can Reduce Family Office Liability

According to one study, 60 percent of managers underperform during their first two years on the job. That is because management requires competency in many areas, including leadership and communications—skills that are not always innate. Moving into management involves new skills, new responsibilities, and new relationships.

Employers often thrust frontline managers into their new roles without any training or preparation. Although many employers provide training to their top leaders, those who already have years of experience, they ignore their new managers, the ones who most need leadership training. In fact, transitioning into a first management position is often more difficult than transitioning from management to the C-Suite. Victor Lipman "Are New Managers The Most Neglected Group In Business?" (Oct. 10, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

To have a smoothly-running family office, your staff management should have strong leadership and communication skills. This can lead to lower turnover rates and higher productivity among staff. It can also benefit you because your instructions can be better communicated to those who are to carry them out.      


Begin with a strong on-boarding process for new management on your staff. Their orientation should include their new responsibilities to observe the workplace for harassing or discriminatory behaviors, as well as safety concerns. Include communications and leadership training as part of orienting them to their new position.

Here are some communication techniques family employers should share with new managers:

  • Always communicate in a positive manner. Even if you are upset with a staff member, refrain from yelling or using derogatory language.
  • Think before you speak and choose your words wisely. This is also true when sending emails to members of the staff.
  • Actively listen to staff before responding. Clarify their position to make sure that you understand their point. Do not react defensively or interrupt them.
  • Clearly articulate goals with staff and meet with staff regularly to discuss these goals.
  • Respectfully give staff feedback and ask staff for their feedback on how you can be a more effective manager.
  • Listen to staff feedback and encourage staff to communicate openly with you about any concerns they may have. Respond positively rather than defensively to any concerns they do raise.
  • When discussing a difficult topic, be honest, direct, and prompt.
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