3 Tips for Improving Your Work Environment

3 Areas to Focus On As A Leader or Team Member

March 22, 2022 |

Young Professionals Having Meeting in Glass Office

As a family therapist since 1999, I hd the privilege of helping many family and companies improve their culture. There are many similarities between the healthiest companies and the healthiest families. Here are four traits I’ve found they all have in common. 4 Secrets to improving your work environment

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. They have FUN together as a team!

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. Leaders are rigorous with their own honesty as nobody trusts without transparency. Conflict resolution skills are applied through the organization.  

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
  • Leaders are rigorous in their honesty (with tact & good time, not mean)
  • 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. They 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. Improve your work environment by talking with your team about why you exist (purpose), how you act (values), and where you’re heading (vision). Making major decisions (e.g. purchasing a building, hiring, partnerships, etc.) ONLY when they align with your company purpose, values, and vision. 

How to Convey Meaning

  • Discuss your company/family core values and show stories of employees living them out
  • Frequently discus your company/family purpose, mission, and vision
  • Engage in company and family traditions consistently, plan them into the schedule
  • Create new traditions and discuss the meaning behind them
  • Only hire people and contract with people that align with you values, purpose, and vision (e.g. The Meaning)
  • 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 & Meaning model. Hire Decide Your Legacy to work with your team on applying this model throughout your organization. 

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.” I hope is that you slow down enough to evaluate your family or workplace in these three areas.

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