How to Create a Positive & Productive Work Environment
3 Areas You Must Focus On As A Leader
Over the past 20 years as a therapist, trainer, and coach, I’ve helped over 1,000 families and over 250 companies thrive. 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 emotionally safe environment when conflict is seen as beneficial. It’s safe to share your opinions even when many 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, and they are held accountable when not following through and violating expectations.
Work Lacks Emotional Safety When …..
- It lacks diversity in its various forms (age, gender, cultural, ect.)
- Peoples are not held accountable to work expectations
- Bad behavior is tolerated rather than being addressed (e.g. gossip, dishonesty, ect.)
- 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
- Viewing different viewpoints as enhancing
- Removing toxic people swiftly
- Encourage members 5 times more than you correct them, even when they are struggling in their performance
3. They Highlight Meaning Behind Everything
Many companies have mission and vision statements. Very few companies consistently reinforce what these things mean. Highlight the backstory consistently, creatively, and repeatedly. Members understand why they exist (purpose), how they behave (values), and where they’re heading (vision). Major decisions are made only when they align.
How to Convey Meaning
- Talk about your company/family purpose, mission, and vision
- Discuss your company/family core values
- Engage your company/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.