Creating a Work Culture that’s Positive & Productive

3 Areas You Must Focus On As A Leader

April 7, 2019 |
By

Young Professionals Having Meeting in Glass Office

Over the past 20 years as a therapist, trainer, and coach, I’ve helped over 2,000 families thrive, and over 250 companies improve their work culture. There are similarities between the healthiest companies and families. Here are three traits they have in common.

1. They Foster Healthy Connection

They consistently create opportunities for relationships to form and go deeper. Members spend quality time together. Activities are intentionally planned, and everyone looks forward to these times together.

Encourage Connection at Work by ….

  • Planning regular social gatherings (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  • Using icebreakers and conversation starters consistently at meetings
  • Learning together (e.g. reading books, attending training & conferences, etc.)
  • Engaging in fun activities (e.g. games, meals, escape rooms, axe throwing, etc.)
  • Utilizing a personality tool like the DISC to better understand one another.
  • Learning how to listen by paraphrasing what the other person said to prove you understood.
  • Curiously asking great questions to get people thinking.

2. They Make Conflict Safe

Leaders create an environment where conflict is valued and viewed as helpful. You can share opinions even when you disagree. Team members are encouraged to be themselves and take risks. Strengths and shortcomings are respected. Members can honestly share frustrations without it being used against them.

Work Lacks Emotional Safety When …..

  • Diversity is lacking in its various forms (age, gender, cultural, ect.)
  • Peoples are not held accountable to work expectations
  • Bad behavior is tolerated (e.g. gossip, dishonesty, etc.)
  • Leaders lack personal follow through
  • Leadership lacks a unified message about the direction of the company

Make Your Team Safer by …….

  • Teaching members how to listen effectively and communicate opinions in a non-threatening fashion
  • Having clear expectations for everyone
  • Addressing bad behavior swiftly
  • Following through on commitments
  • Respecting and considering different viewpoints
  • Removing toxic people swiftly
  • Encourage members 5 times more than you correct them

3. Highlight the Meaning Behind Everything

Many companies have core values, goals, and vision statements, yet very few companies consistently reinforce what these things mean. Highlight the backstory consistently, creatively, and repeatedly. The team understands why it exists (purpose), how to act (values), and where it’s heading (vision). Major decisions are made only when they align.

How to Convey Meaning

  • Discuss your company/family core values
  • Discus your company/family purpose, mission, and vision
  • Engage in company and family traditions
  • Create new traditions and discuss the meaning behind them
  • Celebrate when members live out the purpose, mission, vision, and values
  • Talk about the history of your company and family
  • Post goals for all to see, and review them consistently

Below is an image that illustrates the Connection, Conflict, and Meaning model. Hire me to work with your team.


Create a great team or family culture by focusing on connection, conflict, and meaning. Follow the race car driver’s axiom that says, “You have to slow down in order to go fast.” My hope is that you slow down enough to evaluate your family or workplace in these three areas.

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10 Fun Ice Breakers for Work Meetings and Social Events
5 Things that Make Work Suck
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