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  • Writer's pictureClive Vanderwagen

Why I'll never call my colleagues 'family'

Companies often refer to their employees as 'family.'

While this feels like it's fostering a sense of community and belonging, it's important to remember that our co-workers are not actually family. (For some, the word 'family' is a loaded term.)


They are colleagues who have been contracted to do a job, and it's our responsibility as leaders to create a productive environment where they feel valued, respected, and heard.

Leaders need to focus on building authentic relationships with their team members, and creating a culture where they feel free to grow and develop within the organisation, or to move on to new opportunities. Remember, it's just work, and our goal should be to cultivate relationships where everyone feels engaged and motivated to succeed.


Here are four quick ways to be a good leader and create a sense of belonging in your team without using words like 'family.'


  1. Communicate effectively and frequently with your colleagues. This includes not only sharing information and updates related to your work, but also taking the time to listen to their ideas and concerns. Connection is everything.

  2. Show genuine interest in your colleagues' lives and careers. Take the time to get to know them as individuals and understand their goals and aspirations.

  3. Lead by example and set a positive tone for the team. This includes exhibiting the behaviours and attitudes you expect from your colleagues, such as respect, honesty, and accountability.

  4. Ask them what they need from you to be the most productive they can be. It may just be a high-five in the morning!

You'll be amazed at how this creates belonging and improves results.


By: Clive Vanderwagen



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