Supporting Your Employees

Coaching, Teams, Onboarding


It can be a challenge to come up with the right words at the right time to demonstrate that you support team members and meet them where they are.

Leaders mean well when they try to be positive. But they often simply don’t have the vocabulary
to say the right thing at the right time, and resort to feel good aphorisms that prevent them from
truly comforting those who need it. Whitney Goodman, a licensed therapist and author of Toxic
Positivity, offers some suggestions to help understand the difference between toxic positivity and
offering validation and support.

Toxic Positivity Validation and Support
“You’ll get over it!” “This is hard. We’ll get through it
“Just be positive!” “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Good vibes only!” “It’s pretty normal to have some negative
thoughts in this situation.”
“Stop being so negative!” “It’s probably hard to be positive right
“Think happy thoughts!” “Do you want to talk about your
“Never give up!” “It sucks to feel like this. Do you want to
do something together today?”
“Just be happy!” “It’s probably really hard to see any good
in this situation.”
“It could be worse!” “I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense
right now.”
“Everything happens for a reason!” “I’m here for you.”
“Be grateful it isn’t worse!” “I’m not going anywhere.”
“This isn’t easy, and you don’t have to
pretend like it is.”

If you’re serious about retaining the people on your team (as you should be), consider conducting
“stay” interviews. These are discussions where you ask loyal employees key questions to
understand how engaged they are. The information you gather can help you tackle common
retention issues. Here are four questions to try:

What is your frame of mind today?

No matter what the response is — positive or negative — don’t negate their
experience or move too quickly to solving a problem. Just listen, thank them for
being honest, and ask for more information before moving toward a solution.


Who do you feel connected to at work?

Based on their response, explore what you can do to help them deepen those
connections. Perhaps people from different departments can work on a
company-wide event, a cross-division initiative, or take part in virtual discussion


What do you want to learn that will excite you and help you grow?

This question signals that you care about their development and want to help
them achieve their aspirations.


What barriers can I remove for you to help you do a better job?

Then brainstorm with your colleague how you can be most helpful. Ensuring
people can do their jobs well is just as important as praise and rewards.


This resource is adapted from “What Stops People on Your Team from Leaving?,” by Sabina Nawaz

Our team-connect Survey Process


We start with thoughtfully diagnosing the team’s current culture by using available data, assessments and interviews.

This provides the team leader with a clear view of what is getting in the way of the team’s success.

We design a series of structured team sessions that:

  • Share the team culture analysis
  • Give team members the opportunity to talk through both processes and behaviors that need to be addressed
  • Productively provide feedback to one another
  • Develop both team and individual commitments that will lead to the team’s desired state


Measure progress by leveraging CTD’s team-connect Survey to:

  • Drive accountability and measure progress by collecting team feedback specific to one another’s engagement and behavioral change
  • Provide the team’s leader with a clear understanding of what he/she and the team need from each other to enable and support the team’s success
  • Share team and individual survey result reports