• Pablo Fernández

Business owner, chief of family: two (in)compatible missions?


This article was originally published by Stéphanie Gallo Triouleyre.


Not everything is perfect, but contrary to what we might have assumed, business leaders, both men and women, seem to be quite satisfied with the way they balance their family and professional lives. According to the latest survey by Bpifrance Le Lab, they manage this delicate balancing act rather well.


Business owner and chief of family, can these two hats be worn at the same time under acceptable conditions? According to the latest study by Bpifrance Le Lab, unveiled on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the answer definitely seems to be yes. Even if it is more complex for certain profiles, depending on the size of the company, the number and age of children, and the character of each. And of course, not surprisingly still in 2021, depending on the gender of the company manager.


8 out of 10 executives satisfied with their work/life balance

Of the 1,638 executives surveyed by Bpifrance Le Lab experts, 79% of SME-ETI executives say they are satisfied with the way they balance their family and business lives.


While they acknowledge that they regularly have to sacrifice weekends or family evenings for their work, they also see the freedom of being a business owner, the ongoing adrenaline, as making it easier for them to make certain family sacrifices. In this balancing act, 51% of them say they find it easy to conciliate their father's/mother's hat with their boss's hat. However, it's not always that simple, and some executives express some regrets. It's hard to describe," says Julien Miner, manager of Etablissements Miner. The guilt of not being at home with his family to ensure the good management and development of the company is heavy and daily. Even if you compensate financially, it doesn't always work."


Factors that seem to reduce executives' satisfaction with wearing multiple hats include being a woman executive, not belonging to an executive network, having children under 10 years old, being divorced, and working more than 60 hours a week. Taken one by one, these situations make the life of the executive more complex. And when they accumulate, it can become very difficult.


On the other hand, the characteristics that seem to be the most favorable are: more than 15 years of seniority in the position of manager, household finances depending on the company's income for less than 50%, being over 60 years old, being able to rely on a right-hand man and a management committee, managing a company with more than 250 employees, etc.


Note: the study contradicts preconceived ideas about divorce. According to this survey, "only" 34% of executive marriages end in divorce, compared to an average of 45% for all French people. Elise Tissier, director of the Lab, nevertheless warns of a possible bias: "It is possible that entrepreneurs who have experienced a divorce are no longer divorced and therefore no longer included in our panel. This is mainly due to the famous trilogy of the 3 Ds: bankruptcy, divorce, depression.


The family: an essential support for the entrepreneur

Another lesson of this study: the family of the leaders appears as an essential ingredient of the entrepreneurial success. 65% of respondents believe that it is thanks to the support of their family that their company has been able to grow to such an extent. For 61% of them, their family is directly involved in helping them achieve their various goals. And 56% ask their family circle to enrich their professional decisions. "The support of my partner is considerable. In addition, on a daily basis, my children are an inexhaustible source of support," says Renaud Amory, CEO of Star's Service.


However, all is not always so well. 42% of the business leaders interviewed said that their family blames them for spending too much time on their work. And even when they are with their loved ones, three quarters of them admit that their minds are regularly preoccupied with the challenges of their company.


Finally, 46% say they have thought at least once about hanging up their executive uniform for a more complete family life. Conversely, 47% say they feel good when they return to their entrepreneurial role after strains in their family life...

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