Work is where adults spend most of their time while awake. This simple fact is what makes the workplace today’s modern tribe. What determines how safe, healthy, and functional a tribe is? Above all else, it’s the quality of relationships between its members.

What Does It Feel Like to Work Here?

CEOs and senior leaders spend a lot of their time and mental energy on plans, strategies, forecasting, and goals for the business plan. However, it’s vital for leaders to think of their culture as a core part of the overall company strategy, as well. Culture can influence people’s daily behavior, integrity, accountability, commitment, even their health – all of which translates directly to the bottom line of the organization.

In order to foster a healthy, productive tribe, managers need to start at the foundation – by asking themselves this one question: “What does it feel like to work here?” The answer to that question is one of the most accurate assessments of the health of a workplace. Why? Because the way people feel determines how they behave, and how people feel largely stems from other people. What does it feel like to show up and interact with my boss? What does it feel like to work alongside my colleagues? Can I count on others to have my back when I need them? Do I have trusted team members who make my day positive – even fun?

The benefits of developing a relational culture far exceed simply “having friends” at work. Here’s why:

Load sharing increases

Load sharing is the ability to do more with less because we’ve connected with others who behave in a consistent, predictable way striving toward the same goal as us. This essentially means we have others we can count on  – be it physically by taking on more work to lighten our load, or mentally by supporting and lifting us up.

In a relational culture, employees are able to make the connections where load sharing is possible. People get more done with better quality when they can complete tasks with others they trust and respect.

Accountability improves

Accountable behaviors occur when people understand what is expected of them and follow through with what they say they will do – or, follow up when original plans shift. When employees lack healthy relationships with others, communication suffers, as does the drive to uphold commitments to one another.

I’ve written an entire post on accountability, but suffice it to say, an accountable team will be able to go much further faster than those who struggle with this characteristic.


Under a tribe mentality, the best employees work together, not at cross purposes. Employees who can work together well end up with more creative ideas and solutions, have fewer errors, and typically enjoy tasks more than when working in isolation. No organization operates at its peak capacity with siloed departments or teams. In this interconnected world, we all rely on one another to move further faster.


No matter what, work projects can go sideways. Sometimes circumstances are outside of the team’s control, but engaged and relational members are able to stay positive and refocus their efforts to continue onward. The more connected your team members are to one another, the more they will be there to support one another when work gets stressful or times get tough.

A highly effective culture is a highly relational culture. Now ask yourself, how does it feel to work where you are?

Key Takeaways

  • If you want a work culture that’s positive, productive, and profitable, you must start with your culture.
  • Creating a relational culture at work will help you keep your best employees, which is critical in this era of talent shortage.
  • Subscribe to my podcast for more strategies and tools for building an engaged culture at work.