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Unfortunately, the workplace is filled with situations that make employees feel that they’re not safe, that they don’t belong, and that they don’t matter. Unfair promotion practices, an intolerance for failure, micromanaging leaders, fuzzy communication practices—these are just a few conditions that can send people into the survival-focused fight/flight/freeze part of the brain, creating what Comaford calls the Critter State.

“To turn things around, you need to get employees into their so-called ‘Smart State,’ where they have full access to their creativity, problem-solving ability, and emotional engagement,” Comaford shares. “You do that by promoting safety, belonging, and mattering.”

The greater the feeling of safety (both emotional and physical), the more your people will feel connected (we’re in this together) and the more they’ll feel that they personally matter, make a difference, and are contributing to the greater good, explains Comaford. And all of that leads to greater success for your company.

So what can you do to create such a workplace? Comaford offers several tips.

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