How to Have Better Team Conversations


Feeling like part of a team fosters a sense of belonging that meets an innate human need for all of us. We know someone has our back. We can vent. We can fail, stand up to brush off the dust, and keep going. We're happier because we feel included. Heard. Understood.

It's easy to spot employees who feel like they're part of the team and teams who make it a point to be sure members feel this way. There are jokes and laughter. Extra conversation in addition to work stuff. Smiles and a lot of "checking in to make sure everything is ok" talks. The mood is lighter. 

What's the opposite of that?

  • Being too scared to take a risk because of the ramifications
  • Not being honest in meetings 
  • Unable to give feedback or share feelings
  • Unnecessary delays because of poor communication 
  • Pent up frustration and demotivation
  • Passive aggressiveness (yikes this is the worst)

Great teams don't have to sit together. They don't even have to be in the same office. Or state. Or country. 

Because all it takes is good conversation. Every relationship in my life where I've felt trusted and supported started with words. I've felt closer to teammates across the country than ones I could talk to through a cubicle wall, because how we interacted left me feeling valued and appreciated. 

And it's so easy! Through regular team meetings, consistent 1:1s, teambuilding experiences, and recognition strategies, any team can improve how they have conversations, which in turns improves their effectiveness. Here are a few ideas:

  • DISC teambuilding - DISC is a personality assessment that helps people understand themselves and how to work better with others (and it is better that Myers-Briggs so if you done MBTI before don't brush this off because it will change your life). Knowing your personality style changes how you interact and speak to others. Imagine the power of everyone on a team knowing their personality profile and striving to meet someone else where they're at (extrovert, introvert, control freak, people pleaser ....)
  • Regular shout-outs in team meetings: Start each team meeting (you're having these right?) with everyone sharing a shout-out to someone else on the team. Make sure the shout-out includes what the person did and why it mattered. No one more of this "You're just awesome, thanks for all you do!" because that doesn't make anyone feel valued. Seriously. 
  • Consistent 1:1s - These meetings are for the employee, not the manager. Done well, a 1:1 helps someone feel heard and supported. Ask these questions in a 1:1 meeting -
    • What's your biggest challenge right now? 
    • What's going well? What are you most confident about?
    • What are you most proud of this month? 
    • Where can I be the most helpful to you?

Results aren't the foundation of a good team. Conversation is.


CLT Leads is a leadership development company that helps small businesses and their people reach full potential. We're passionate about helping people live their best lives at work and setting small businesses up with talent practices that work. Find out more at