Trapped in The Family Business with Dr. Michael Klein

Jan 25, 2023

Our guest today, Dr. Michael Klein, holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been working as a workplace and professional consultant and advisor for over 20 years. He is also the author of Trapped in the Family Business, Second Edition: A Practical Guide to Uncovering and Managing This Hidden Dilemma, which he wrote out of a sense of need when he saw how many of his clients felt isolated and alone in their struggles.

Our conversation with Dr. Klein covers everything, from the sense of disconnection people are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its effect on employees, to how family-run businesses should approach issues around succession and retirement. He shares some of the advice he gives to clients who feel trapped by their family businesses, why they might be feeling this way, and his approach to helping family businesses navigate tricky issues. We also discuss the subject of confidentiality in family businesses, how it can prevent families from reaching out for support, and why this incentivized him to create the organization, Family Business Anonymous.

Working alongside family members can bring many joys with it, one of them being that you get to know an entirely different side of them, which can strengthen your relationships. But it also creates opportunities for conflict, often leading to feelings of frustration and resentment, and harming your family dynamics in the process. If you’re interested in learning more about family businesses or are a member of one yourself be sure to tune in to this important conversation!

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why the niche subject of family businesses appealed to Dr. Michael Klein, as a psychologist.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected emotional well-being and connectedness.
  • The concept of work-life integration and why work-life balance seems out of reach for most.
  • Why Dr. Klein decided to write Trapped In The Family Business.
  • The unconscious messaging family members might send one another regarding their role and responsibility in the family business.
  • The tension of being relied upon as a mother, wife, and unofficial part of the family business, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Examples of resources that families can use to help them become better integrated.
  • Dr. Klein’s fondness for psychometrics and how it can help family members gauge whether they are ready for increased responsibility.
  • Why it can be so difficult for owners to step away from their businesses.


Additional Resources:




Telephone: 413-320-4664

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