I think we should
replace the diagram with this one:
/ ! \
\ | /
/ | \
post opts PTOs
PTOs might mean "personal-time-offs" (absences from work) or "please-turn-overs" (indications that the thing you're looking for is absent from this page but present overleaf), probably the former, and is starred because it's an abbreviation rather than a word.
So the question mark
might be replaced with any synonym for "pots". "pans" (cooking vessels), "sinks" (sends a snooker/pool ball into a pocket), "weeds" (marijuana, though the pluralization is a bit iffy), etc.
indicate what permutation of letters is being done. Blue means reversal, red means moving a letter from one end to the other, green means swapping two letters.
For the second part, we have
direction EAST, quench SATE, bench SEAT, bristle SETA. We could add TEAS, EATS, ETAS, and TASE. Something like this, if I haven't missed any adjacencies in the graph:
If we don't mind a bit of obscurity we could add
ATES to make a nice 3x3 grid. It would be better to rearrange the top row a little, but this will do: