A 5-Minute Walk: The Simple Secret for Achieving Team Trust

Have you ever been angry at work? Maybe you yelled at somebody or you got yelled at by a colleague or even a manager? Yes, it happens in the workplace. Everyone gets angry or frustrated at one point or another and needs an outlet. However, as a professional it’s important to pay attention to the way your responses affect your employees. Your outburst may be of little importance to you — with your feelings leaving just as fast as they came — but to co-workers or employees you have conducted yourself in a way that sets how they think of you and how they will respond to you, ongoing.

I have an excellent example of how a client allowed his anger to get out of control in his workplace, ultimately costing his organization $20 million dollars. When I began working with “Mike,” I spoke with the stakeholders to get an idea of his leadership strengths and weaknesses. They all told me how passionate and driven their CEO Mike was and that he demonstrated high goals and standards. However, they also told me they didn’t trust him. After delving further I learned of two separate incidents where Mike yelled and used abusive language towards two employees.

To Mike these situations were a one-time event that was quickly forgotten. However, these incidents quickly made the rounds to all of his employees and they soon expressed a distrust for him because they didn’t want to be yelled at themselves. I collected the feedback and confronted Mike. Interestingly, he had no idea that his actions had created this impact in his workplace.

Mike and I worked together to address his frustrations through other outlets such as walking or a 5-minute break.  After a year of coaching and working together, Mike’s effort significantly paid off and his working relationships improved. Two years later, his company reported a $30 million profit.

The lesson all leaders can take away from Mike’s experience is how important it is to have awareness of the way  your behavior affects your team. It may seem like a reaction or conversation you had is small, but you are constantly setting an impression for your colleagues that will change the way they work and communicate with you. Even the smallest of conversations matter when you are in a leadership position.