Ask anyone about good governance, and they would commonly say that it’s related to governments and businesses. It’s how these major structures of society should govern their actions and decisions so that human rights and liberties are protected and upheld. Without it, corruption and incompetence will run rampant, jeopardizing the well-being of everyone in the community. The United Nations best describes good governance as having eight attributes. These include transparency, responsiveness, inclusiveness, and accountability, to name a few.
Though, aren’t these traits also vital in building a supportive and loving family? Families are the core of society, a microcosm of the outside world where other larger institutions draw from. Without this basic unit, neighborhoods, states, and countries wouldn’t exist. Beliefs, habits, and attitudes all develop and grow within the familial structure.
Whether you’re a mortgage broker or high school teacher, the status of your family relationships can affect your work and whatever community you’re a part of. You will carry the intellectual and emotional scars that stem from a problematic household. On the other hand, close family relationships have been found to improve an individual’s satisfaction and decrease the risk of depression. That is why integrating good governance in families can be the key to better and happier lives.
Why family governance?
Family governance provides a system or a tool for families to navigate cropping issues, different interests, and limited resources. The practice brings clarity and accountability to all the members involved because roles, expectations, and goals are defined and discussed. Having articulated values and a mission and vision statement will serve as a guidepost for everyone. For example, if your family has a vision of continuous growth, then every member will know that they should be learning something new every month. Activities like quiz nights, board games, and Ted talks will become a part of the family dynamics.
The family will also be able to avoid disagreements as they answer the following questions:
- How will important decisions be made? Who will have the final say?
- What are the appropriate boundaries of each family member?
- What will be the process of inheriting and passing down wealth?
- How can family values be encouraged and practices?
- How will fights and differences in opinion be resolved?
Improving family dynamics and communication
Instilling the practice of good governance in the family will take time and commitment. Values and goals should be revisited regularly through group huddles and one-on-ones. Like in the business setting, these group meetings are an avenue where feedback and information are shared without judgment. It also provides an avenue where members can share the issues and problems they’re experiencing. Children will feel loved and valued if they know their family members will listen to whatever they have to say while giving advice and mentorship.
Another way to fast track the good governance culture is when parents take the lead and uphold the principles in their relationship as a couple. When the family becomes bigger, couples tend to focus more on their children while sacrificing the original dynamics. That is problematic. When the connection between the couple becomes weak, they become separate individuals instead of a team trying to solve one goal. They will tend to treat the other as an enemy and not someone who is in the boat with them.
An effective family governance practice ensures that issues and conflict don’t break the relationship of the members. It creates an environment where opinions are valued, feelings are acknowledged, and expectations are communicated.