Working Dynamics



November 2006  


Welcome to the quarterly Working Dynamics Newsletter. Our goal is to highlight what each of us can do to have stronger work relationships, communicate more effectively, and manage conflict constructively in our work lives.

Don't hesitate to pass along this e-newsletter! There is a link at the bottom of this page to make it simple. (We assure you that all of our email addresses are strictly confidential. Working Dynamics NEVER shares subscribers' information.)

Susan Gunn, Working Dynamics

In this issue...


 Trust or No Trust

When I am working with a client whose job security is at risk, mediating conflict between business colleagues, or facilitating team discussions around difficult issues, trust is so often at the heart of their situation. I hear, “She can't be trusted,” “I doubt we’ll make any progress on this because I could never trust him again,” or “I've lost all respect for her.”

You've seen what happens when trust is compromised at work — barriers go up and work relationships break down. Dismantling those walls and rebuilding trust isn’t easy. However, the process is much easier than struggling to do good work, getting recognition for accomplishments, and finding job satisfaction in a low-trust environment. This is true whether you've lost trust in colleagues or they've lost trust in you.

What makes those tentative doors to trust slam shut? As it turns out, definitions of trust vary widely, so there isn't one answer. It is an excellent question you might ponder and explore with colleagues as well. Dr. Gloria Bader of the Bader Group in San Diego talks about the Four Trust Principles — Respect, Openness, Reliability, and Honesty — and describes them in these ways:

  • Respect requires that we treat others fairly. Violators of respect are saying things that ridicule another’s class, background, or abilities. Other examples are snobbery and elitism. Respect simply can be best displayed when we are courteous of others.
  • Openness is the willingness to freely share information, feelings, ideas, and expectations with others. If we are open, we are candid and frank.
  • Reliability is doing, with competence and skill, what you say you will do. It is as simple as being on time and returning phone calls.
  • Honesty is truthfulness and integrity in words and actions and is the core of trust. Honesty is more than the absence of lying; it is the commitment to seek the truth.

As you reflect on your own trust definitions and needs, ask and answer a few questions:

  • How do others win my trust?
  • What makes me lose trust in someone?
  • How do I show that I trust others?
  • What must one do to regain my trust?

You can’t do your best work in a low-trust environment and trying likely will result in your dreading each workday. If there is room for improvement in trust in your workplace, let's talk about simple, sure methods for a turnaround. Working Dynamics can facilitate team growth around these four trust principles, which are certain to improve communication, energy, and potential.

Contact us ...


 Sure You Want to Know What They're Thinking?

Sure you do! Even if it smarts. There is a solid correlation between communication effectiveness, low organizational turnover, and strong financial performance. This is the finding of the global consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide in their recent study Effective Communication: A Leading Indicator of Financial Performance.

Many employers have their most in-depth conversations with employees immediately before they join the organization (in the pre-hire screening process) and right before they leave for another job or retirement (in an exit interview). Lost are opportunities between these two points to engage employees, boost morale, and enhance team spirit, not to mention increase business success. Picture employees connecting around vision, goals, and process improvement -- and how such communication can help you retain the very best.

"To Keep Employees, Talk — and Listen — to Them!" is the advice of Sue Meisinger, president of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the August issue of HR Magazine. According to Ms. Meisinger, SHRM regularly measures employee attitudes through formal surveys and fine-tunes workforce policies on the basis of results. She notes that this approach may not be practical for smaller organizations.

Good news! Working Dynamics has made it affordable for small teams to medium-size organizations to measure and learn from employee feedback. Contact Susan Gunn for a plan that can fit your needs and your budget (804-353-9527 or

Online surveys, focus groups, more ...


 Book Clubs at Work: Why not!

worldWhat if everyone on your team read the same book and discussed how it relates to the ways you work together, how you support each other (or don't), and where you are going? Interjecting some new ideas can be the jumpstart you need. Discussing a common book is a great way to gain new perspectives. To be effective, you don't always need a facilitator. However, if you would like a leader for the project, give us a call.

A few books that can open interesting discussion in your team:

  • Hot Buttons: How to Resolve Conflict and Cool Everyone Down by Sybil Evans and Sherry Suib Cohen
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
  • Crucial Confrontations: Tools for resolving broken promises, violated expectations, and bad behavior by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
  • Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott

Ask us about facilitation...


About the publisher

Susan Gunn is president of Working Dynamics. We consult with organizations and support leaders and teams in methods to become more effective, inprove work relationships, and use conflict in its most productive forms. Working Dynamics' programs include: Team Effectiveness, Leader Development, and Conflict Management.

Find out more ...

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