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If You’re Feeling Unappreciated, Give Someone Else Credit

May. 2, 2014 HBR Blog Network

Harry is one of our most successful family business clients.  A high school graduate, his first job was pouring concrete.  Once he joined the family business, he showed a real gift for leadership.  Strategically brilliant, disarmingly funny, a driven worker, and still grounded in his deep values, Harry grew the firm at more than 15% per year.  He embodies much of what we all admire in leaders.

Yet something was amiss in the culture of the business Harry had created.  The co-owners, his sister and cousin, had gotten to a place where they were considering splitting up their successful business.  Their working relationships had ground to a halt as they pointed out faults in Harry’s leadership.  The more he was criticized, the more Harry agitated against their involvement in the business.  Core decisions were not being made, as one family member after another threw a monkey wrench into the works.

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