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Work wellbeing starts with team culture. Here are some practical steps to bring your team together.

By Rob Lean on

Wellbeing at work matters. We spend most of our waking lives at or preparing for work. So how can we make our 9-5 a space that enhances (instead of drains) our wellbeing? Here are some practical tools to get you started.


Wellbeing depends on our team

Our teams represent the people we spend the most time with and depend on. These people have an influence on our overall wellbeing and stress levels in the workplace. So, let’s start by reflecting on your team. 

Answer the following questions on a 1-5 scale. (1 = low, 5 = high).

    ● I feel safe to bring up tough topics when I know that the discussion will benefit our team (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)

    ● When I make a mistake on my team, it is never held against me (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)

    ● My personal working style preferences are recognised and responded to (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)

    ● I can have brave conversations about interpersonal behaviour with my team members for the benefit of our relationship (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)

    ● I feel comfortable talking to my team members about my personal life and I know about their theirs (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)

How did that feel? What you’ve just answered is a quiz on psychological safety. 




Psychological safety - How did you score?

Psychological safety refers to whether you feel safe to take interpersonal risks or not. Can I constructively challenge you? Can I ask for help? Can I share brave feedback that will help you grow? If the answer is yes, that’s psychological safety. Many of our closest friendships are psychologically safe. Teams that support our wellbeing are psychologically safe too. 

Why should we focus on psychological safety? Because tension always arises when working with other humans. And it’s not the lack of tension but our ability to resolve tension and adapt as a team from the experience that defines psychological safe teams.




Back to your results. Tally up your scores from your own personal responses. Here’s the insight:

5-15 - Indicates low psychological safety 

15 - 20 - Indicates varied levels of psychological safety 

20 - 25 - Indicates strong psychological safety 


What is important here is that you have an indication of how your team is currently doing. And that should be empowering. Because when we know where we’re at, we can know where to go. So, what’s next?


The Game Plan for Change

How to improve your team's psychological safety:

    1. Opportunity Mindset. Help the team to see working on team culture as an opportunity 

    2. Provide a Catalyst. Provide a team catalyst that will give the team permission to work on your culture 

    3. Quiz. Build your own behavioural baseline to measure team connection and appreciation

    4. Practice. Put your psychological safety building tools into practice



You might be looking at those action points and thinking “Yes, I can get my team to buy into the benefits of psychological safety and wellbeing - but what will our team catalyst be?” I’ve got the answer for you. And the great thing is that you’ll be doing good for your team while doing good for the world. 


Opportunity Mindset 

Let’s identify one of your team’s habits. Do you have drinks for someone’s birthday after work? How about on a Friday or after a big project has been finished? Great - you’ve identified a cultural habit. Team culture is the sum of your behaviours and talking about one of your habits is a gateway for talking about your team culture.




Provide a Catalyst

Why not use the Dry July Campaign as your catalyst? If you sit your team down and say “We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, and we have an opportunity to raise money for cancer support this month by going dry. ”, then you have effectively opened a conversation about changing your team’s habits and culture.

Tie this opening into a broader conversation about wellbeing: “I think that this is a great opportunity to look at how we can build behaviours that enhance our connection as a team and wellbeing generally. What do we want to get out of this month?”

As a team, spell out the behaviour that you’re looking for as you complete the campaign. Do people want to support each other? Do they want to pull together? Be specific. On a whiteboard, map out:

    ● What do we want to achieve from this campaign? 

    ● How do we want to achieve this campaign? 


Build Your Team’s Own Behavioural Baseline Quiz 

Connecting with each other as people and appreciating each other’s strengths is a great way to start building psychological safety. I encourage you to focus on behaviours that support these factors during your campaign. If you see behaviours in the ‘how do we want to achieve this campaign’ section that you think would improve your team’s psychological safety, such as ‘mutual encouragement’, then call out the benefits. In fact, I recommend that you build a behaviour quiz out of your ‘how do we want to achieve this campaign’ answers. If there are behaviours that the team thinks will improve connection and appreciation, get each team member to anonymously answer whether they feel that this behaviour:

    ● Already happens consistently

    ● Happens frequently

    ● Happens sometimes

    ● Happens inconsistently

    ● Happens rarely


Put it into practice!

This collective insight will give your team a shared baseline to work from. You’ll see the behaviour in your team as you complete the campaign. And the more you positively reinforce these behaviours, the more that you’ll build a wellbeing supporting team. 

Ready to sign your team up for the campaign? Do it. 

Want more tips on how to build psychological safety and wellbeing into your team? Email Rob at [email protected] or book in time directly here

Robert Lean is a consultant at The Culture Equation, a boutique management consulting company that supports organisations to become high impact, high performing and healthy. 


This article was written by Rob Lean from The Culture Equation.