How do you know when to call in a trust and leadership trainer/coach?

Quick! Without over-analyzing, choose the word below that best describes your current work environment:


Outstanding. Frequent risk-taking, open communication, collegiality, and trust. Conflict is seen as positive (it’s growth trying to happen).

Good. Pockets of effective relationships. Generally, trust levels have plateaued. Significant conflicts are eventually addressed.

Okay. Work gets done, but often through individual heroics. Conflict is avoided. Pain tolerance is higher than necessary.

Poor. Underperformance, chronic stress, and a general sense of isolation. Conflict feels unsafe or unwise, so it goes underground. Surface politeness reigns.

Dysfunctional. Pervasive mistrust, passive aggression, low expectations of self and others. Conflict is avoided at all costs and festers.


Choosing one of the above is already a healthy step. Now let’s see what your organization looks and feels like, and if and how Building Trust (BT) can help.

If you answered Outstanding, ask other impact players and influencers in your company if they concur. If so, congratulations; your trust game is solid! Now if you want to raise the bar even higher, BT can help you target specific improvement areas.

If you chose Good, you have a strong foundation with room to grow. There may be opportunities to help teammates stuck in unhelpful communication patterns or strained relationships, plus learn better ways to interact for themselves and the team. Good organizations often call BT for leadership team unity and development, too.

If you selected Okay, your team gets things done — at a cost. Nobody loves conflict, but it feels extra risky at your organization. There is much trust-building work to do, and it will take time. Trust work can’t be rushed. Please be encouraged! These environments can and do get better when top leaders are engaged in the needed changes and when we give each other grace along the way. With sincere commitment and positive energy, momentum can build quickly.

If you answered Poor, your company may be at a trust crossroads. It will take a concerted effort by almost everyone to pivot towards increased communication, vulnerability, and mutual accountability while running the business. It’s not easy, but it’s doable if people care about the mission enough to see it through. BT comes alongside every player in the firm who needs our help.

If you answered Dysfunctional, people must accept the stress, over-polite CYA email chains, and ineffective decision-making that are hallmarks of untrusting cultures. Typically, it takes serious business consequences (turnover, losses, etc.) to pile up before these organizations awaken to why trust matters so much. Until that day, I’m sorry, BT can’t do much to help. We love working with groups who value trust from the inside out!

Now What?

Sometimes, trust challenges are localized to certain people and relationships (“If only those two would figure this out, gosh, it would be great around here”). Other times, it is more generalized (“I’m not sure if I can say what I really think here; I’d better not”). Another common pattern is the “us versus them” trust issue, where we start looking at coworkers as adversaries rather than fellow teammates.

At BT, we love helping people overcome trust and leadership challenges and excel at their primary mission. This usually involves working with talented people who, for one reason or another, are tolerating behaviors (their own and others’) that need to change.

An experienced outsider is sometimes needed to listen, provide ideas, and help you chart a path forward. What Building Trust doesn’t do is “should” on you, as in, “You ‘should’ do this” or “you ‘should’ do that and all will be well.” We join you in the trenches and provide the tools or techniques you need to gain new leverage on your specific challenges or opportunities.

All of the above can be improved when we acknowledge the situation without grudge and reestablish trust one relationship at a time. We’re ready when you are.


Building Trust LLC — Celebrating 15 years of improving relationships, developing teams, equipping leaders, and accelerating careers.