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How to Foster Teamwork Within Your Family

high performance family


You can probably name your company’s values off the top of your head…

Can you do the same thing with your family’s values? Do you know what your family stands for and is deeply committed to? 

Whether you’re in a committed partnership, wrangle ten young children, or have a friend group that is your sense of “home”, your family is your built-in team. At least, it can be if you want it to be!

With a couple of simple exercises, you can turn your family into an aligned team. 

Establishing Family Values

A great way to find alignment within your family is to establish your family values. Think of 5 very clear values that are important to you and your family. Try not to get caught up in the nitty-gritty and debate every single value, simply write down 5 things that come to mind easily and simply. When something wants to come through you, just let it come.

Here are some examples: 

Respect my family

Nourish my body

Expand my mind

Respect my house

Value the earth

Five very clear things. 

You can place this paper in a public place within your home, or you can make it the lock screen on your phone. Or you can simply memorize these values. But it’s important to establish these values within your family, the same way you would declare values for your company to ensure you are a motivated team and each action you take aligns with these values. 

Establishing these values creates a precedent of what your family stands for and is dedicated to. This gets everyone on your team ( your family members) on the same page. This way, when someone isn’t honoring your values, you have a north star to refer to and recommit to.

If, for example, your middle schooler’s dirty soccer gear is strewn all over the house, it may be time to address your family’s commitment to respecting your home. 

Remember, every family is different! What might be valued in one home may not be valued in yours and that’s perfectly fine! This exercise is not about shame or judgment, it’s about establishing purpose and boundaries for your family unit so you are a strong team working toward the same goals. 

Here’s an important part of a team dynamic– everyone gets a voice! Invite your family members to the table to present what matters most to them when you’re establishing your family values. Your kids may have innovative ideas if you simply decide to listen. You don’t have to agree to your kindergartener’s request for Lucky Charms to be the family’s primary meal, but you can commit to having structured meals together as a way for your family to meet up and bond each week. Incorporating and treating your children (or younger family members) like actual humans with different personalities and different perspectives and points of view is valuable to the process of creating values that work for your entire family.

Older children and adolescents are team members who may be especially interested in discussing these values with you. You can even use this discussion as an opportunity to work on communication skills! Talk about a win-win.  

Here’s some more good news: the values you choose initially do not have to be set in stone! Those 5 values can morph over time, but it will be a family conversation. 

The Importance of Shared Commitments

Shared commitments within a family are the cornerstone of a harmonious and fulfilling family life. They are one of the best ways to cultivate a strong bond with your family members, helping you create an understood and collaborative foundation for your family.

Your family is your team, and you are the team leader. Just as successful teams operate with a shared vision, families thrive when they have common values, commitments, and goals. Whether it’s dedicating time for regular family activities, supporting each other’s aspirations, or prioritizing open communication, shared commitments contribute to the overall well-being of the family.

The best way to instill shared commitments within a family is through open and honest communication. When family members discuss their values, expectations, and aspirations, it becomes easier to identify common ground and establish mutual commitments. 

The values you decide upon are what your team is deciding to commit to, those commitments are your common goal. These shared commitments mean you are going to do everything in your power, everything in your control, to live by those and make choices to honor them. 

You can have a conversation with all the members of your family, of your team, and ask, “What’s important to each of us, and why is it important, and what do you want to live by?” 

An agreement might be to clean your room within a certain time frame, in contrast, a commitment is you live in this house and we actively respect our house by keeping it tidy. There is a spaciousness to a commitment instead of an agreement, but there is also accountability. You could ask a five-year-old, ‘What does it look like to respect your house?’ That dialogue values accountability and creativity in living your family values through good teamwork. 

Establishing your family values and committing to them creates a team dynamic where each member of your family is pursuing the same mission and committed to the entire team’s success.

The beauty of determining your values and commitments is that they are uniquely yours. You create the parameters and the results through your team spirit. You handcraft the outcome through your intentions and follow through. High-performing teams understand teamwork is the integration of the we, I, and it, 

You are Allowed to have a family that functions as a team. 

You are Allowed to create commitments that serve your family best.

No judgment.

No guilt.

No shame. 

You are Allowed to create the life that serves you best. 

Just as successful company teams operate with clear values and commitments, your family too can do their best work by establishing shared values and commitments. As the leader of this team, you wield the power to mold its mission and define the parameters of its success. Start by choosing your core family values, setting a precedent for what your family stands for and is dedicated to. Through open communication and active participation of all family members, these values can evolve into shared commitments that guide your family culture, actions, and choices.

Embrace the concept that your family is a team, and you, as the leader, have the power to shape its mission and success. 

Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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