Chefs stressed in kitchen

Trust: A Vital Ingredient for the Workplace Pressure Cooker

Dizzying technological transformation, far-reaching globalization, demand for higher and higher productivity, intense and unpredictable competition from a growing number of sources. Changing and escalating customer demands, tightening regulatory frameworks. Welcome to the pressure cooker.

Leadership/employee lines are increasingly blurred as traditional hierarchies fall by the wayside and complex webs of working relationships take their place.

Trust. Now more than ever, trust is a fundamental building block of fruitful, long-lasting workplace relationships and team success. It can be painstakingly built; yet easily destroyed. It is particularly fragile during the frequent, if not constant, times of pressure.

Through our research and many years of experience we believe leaders at all levels should focus on 4 key capabilities.

  • Earn credibility and build trust.
  • Create and sustain a wide network of effective relationships.
  • Maintain a positive work environment.
  • Diffuse emotional and highly-charged situations.

Valuable as it is to have these high-level goals in mind, the tricky part is making it happen. Here are some practical guidelines to support you and your teams.

  1. Focus on the situation, issue, or behavior, not the person.
    • Look at the big picture
    • Avoid putting others on the defensive
    • Make decisions based on facts
    • Consider other points of view
    • Turn blaming into problem-solving
    • When emotions run high, suggest a break or later meeting
  2. Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.
    • Openly express confidence in others
    • Recognise accomplishments
    • Help others express their ideas
    • Help others expand and share their skills
    • Show respect for people at all levels
    • Ask others how you can improve the work environment
  3. Maintain constructive relationships.
    • Use every interaction as a chance to build relationships
    • Acknowledge problems openly, honestly and objectively
    • Deal with conflicts as they arise
    • Share information
    • Ask for advice from people you normally don’t collaborate with
    • Gather feedback from internal and external customers
  4. Take the initiative to make things better.
    • Find opportunities for improvement
    • Stay informed
    • Act as if there is a creative solution to every problem
    • Ask for and offer help
    • Recognize those who take action
    • Break a challenge into small pieces
    • Ask people how they would solve problems they bring to you
  5. Lead by example.
    • Model the actions you expect of others
    • Follow through on commitments
    • Admit your mistakes
    • Challenge yourself and others to try new things
    • Sharpen your technical skills
  6. Think beyond the moment.
    • Uphold ethical standards
    • Weight the impact of your decisions before you act on them
    • Set objectives that motivate action
    • Plan ahead
    • Tell stories about ethical decisions in tough situations
    • Represent your organization’s values to the outside world
    • Translate strategy into terms meaningful to others
    • Subscribe to a trade journal and identify trends to shape goals

It’s a long list, so choose one thing from each section to focus on. Be deliberate in how you take action; and consciously record any impact – no matter how small.

We’d love to hear what you find works!


Interested in learning more?

One of our most popular programs is Building Trust Under Pressure. To see how you can access (and edit!) this workshop content, and roll it out to your organization, request a no-obligation demo of our growing Alliance membership platform.

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