UncategorizedOctober 31, 20232

Kristi’s Korner: We’re Not Family…..

No we’re REALLY not.

Warning – Strong Kristi opinions ahead.

As a career HR Professional, it is a personal pet peeve of mine when I hear leaders, employees and organizations describe themselves as a family. Or to say that there is a family environment. Or that there is a culture of family. Or… Well, you get my point.

Just so that you know I’m not a big jerk, let me explain why this is a pet peeve of mine. Buckle up because there are several reasons.

1. Families (most anyway) have unconditional love. Organizations and their employees do
not. Do we care about each other? Yes! Unconditional love? No!
2. Families, often times, have no boundaries or very few. Organizations and their
employees should absolutely have healthy boundaries.
3. Families can wear swimsuits around each other. Strong opinion… I don’t think
employees should.
4. Sometimes (cough cough) families can be dysfunctional. We want to try to not introduce
that into our workplaces.
5. Professional relationships are not always as permanent as family relationships. Treating
them as such or talking about them in that way is risky.
6. Feedback can get even harder than it already is to deliver.

So, while we want to have healthy workplace cultures, where we are inclusive and care about each other, that should and can be different than having a workplace that is like a family.

Want more information? I have a colleague that feels the same way. Check out the link to this article from Shelley Cadamy with Cadamy Business Consulting. Different spin, same story.

And I would love to hear from you if this article makes you real mad.


  • Bailey Hughes

    November 6, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Well. Hells BELLS. I’ve been doing this wrong. And I 100% get what you are saying and agree. I just didn’t think it through that much. And I WISH I DID SOONER! Can you please give me some suggestions as to other words you think are healthier or more appropriate??! Please and thank you.
    And, No! It does not make me mad. It makes me say–well, that is obviously the correct way to think and what is wrong with me that I thought differently. Haha


  • Mary Mayes

    December 18, 2023 at 10:07 am

    As a 36+ year HR professional … THIS makes my HR heart happy. While my favorite leadership quote is “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” – as it relates to professional boundaries only folks. Building relationships for effective leadership, mentoring, coaching but not to be their (outside work or social media) friend is paramount to organizational leadership. Thanks for the quick but impactful read 😉


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