Org StratDo you know your teams strengths? How would they know?
Are you confident in your team? How would they know?
Do you leverage strengths in times of stress? How do you do it?

Within the work place our projects, key activities, outcomes, impacts, expectations, deadlines, reviews, audits, evaluations, final reports, and on and on routinely activate our stress response. When organizational leaders invest in building rapport and organizational trust they are much more likely to navigate day-to-day stress and manage crises with resilience. Ultimately this lends itself to higher engagement and consequently increases in organizational outcomes.

3 Go-Tos for building rapport and organizational trust

Go-To Tip #1: Listen for and respond to strengths…

Noticing and naming strengths can have a positive impact on a person’s sense of well-being and shifts away from a focus on imperfections (which leads to shame and guilt and decreases in productivity) to leverage what is working (leads to sense of mastery and efficacy and an increase in productivity).

Practice: Take (mental or actual) inventory of who’s good at what in your organization.  Embrace both task and maintenance functions Verbally recognize work related strengths along with outside activities and interests.


Go-To Tip #2: Listen and respond to concerns…

Empathic listening is a game changer.  If an employee is overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, fearful, distant or any other number of unpleasant emotions, listen.  Difficult emotions are clear sign a need is not being met.  Is the need technical? social? Or personal?  Can you assist with meeting the need?  The Center for Nonviolent Communication has a great needs inventory on their website.

Practice: Affirm emotional experiences. Notice when someone’s emotional experience is coloring your own. Remember that you do not own their experience.  Give time for people to have their experience.  If possible, assist them in meeting the need.

Rationale: Tending and befriending can disarm fight, flight, and freeze responses.


Go-To Tip #3: Promote ownership on projects…

Ownership increases satisfaction, engagement, and overall productivity (


Letting go of control.  Shift meetings from top down to bottom up approaches.  As a leader be clear on organizational culture and the big picture of what needs to be done. From there guide employees to generate their own ideas on objectives and specific activities.  Support these objectives and activities as they emerge.  Differentiate between hard deadlines and soft ones.  In times of increased pressure ground yourself and team in the vision and if possible encourage your role as support staff.

This blog is part two of a series
providing information and tools emerging from the organization development field.  We are excited to offer these best practices for how your manage your space.

Check out the first post: Organization Development: It’s a thing…A pretty cool thing