Despite countless books, presentations and articles being produced on the fundamentals needed for businesses to achieve higher productivity – the importance of trust continues to fall on deaf ears affirmed professional development coach Stephen Chong in a recent workshop.

‘I want my team to perform at higher levels of productivity…We need to get more from the team…They need to work together more effectively’, are further common laments from frustrated managers said Stephen in the opening comments to his workshop.

“In my thirty years’ experience working with teams in business, I have found that one of the principle areas in which teams fail to develop to their fullest potential – is TRUST”.

Teams that have a ‘trust deficiency’ are noticeably incapable of engaging in unfiltered and robust debate of suggestions and ideas that may take the team forward.

Furthermore, team members are hesitant or stymied from making contributions to the team’s wellbeing.  ‘Why bother, they never listen anyway’, ‘Even if I do put up an idea, nobody listens’, ‘I put forward ideas, but they never seem to go anywhere’, ‘Nobody gives me credit/feedback’ are just some of the laments of team members I have heard over the years continued Stephen Chong.

“The importance of trust cannot be understated. Trust is closely linked to motivation.  Not a lot of productivity, persistence (in the face of adversity) or extended staff retention, nor morale will be high if the team is not working in a positive environment where the manager is respected or trusted.

“It is vital that the manager builds and develops trust among the team and within the organization.  So how do you develop (and maintain) trust was the question posed by Stephen Chong to his workshop delegates. Remember that trust has to be earned.  You cannot mandate that people start trusting one another”, said Stephen Chong.

“There are however things that managers can do to facilitate the development of trust within their team.   They can, start by keeping promises. Promises that are made but not kept are powerful de-motivators.  Keep in mind that it takes time and effort to develop trust, but only seconds to destroy it!”

Clearing the air and recognizing opportunities is another trust-developing initiative said Stephen Chong.  “As a manager, you can seek opportunities to actively listen to another’s point of view and see the world through their eyes”.

Implementing trust-building initiatives is another positive construct.  This can be achieved by establishing forums (both formal and informal) where people are given the time to understand each other and what drives them.

Stephen then provided the workshop attendees with an example of the power of incorporating developmental (non-operational) team meeting agenda items, or individual and team success recognition.  Good news stories or community initiatives can also be constructive and be very well received.

Last, but by no means least, teams can develop a team agreement.  This is a simple process that managers can utilize in order to establish boundaries around team behaviour and communication.  This in turn sets standards for team members to embrace.

“It is the teams in which members trust other team members, their leader and the organization that, are the ones that are able to reach pinnacles of performance far and above others.

Teams cannot work without trust…may sound like a basic fundamental to business success.  Yet in continues to be the insurmountable barrier between managers, teams and business success”, concluded Stephen Chong.

Stephen Chong M.Ed. is a highly sought after Personal Development Coach, Speaker, and Author. In his coaching work, Stephen focuses on imparting the essential envisioning and goal-setting skills that bring out the best in executives, managers and staff in the modern workplace.

He has established a considerable reputation for designing and delivering quality coaching and training programs, evidenced in the many courses he has written, such as: Enhanced leadership skills; Effective communication; Conflict resolution; Living on the edge of your comfort zone; Developing winning teams; and Overcoming the obstacles.


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