Trust Anti-pattern Cards

The main idea of anti-pattern cards was to create a tool for teams which teach them to deal with issues around trust.

To help a team or whole organization overcome the trust trap, I crafted a set of anti-pattern cards. I was starting to collect a trust anti-patterns and today I’d like to present you my list.

  1. Micromanagement
  2. Distortion of information
  3. Mistrust leads to mistrust
  4. Undercover games
  5. Blame
  6. Break schedule
  7. Conflict in behavior
  8. Withholding information and context
  9. Talking behind someone’s back
  10. Lack of commitment
  11. Lack of onetime communication
  12. Unclear communication
  13. Strong rules
  14. Public punishment
  15. Being dishonest
  16. Cronyism and favorites
  17. Lack of competency
  18. Lack of respect
  19. Delegation of errors and mistakes
  20. Lack of responsibility
  21. Reporting (specially daily)
  22. Work of competitors (espionage)
  23. Useless KPI
  24. Internal competition
  25. Lie and betray
  26. Unhealthy competition
  27. Unrealistic expectation
  28. Negative feedback
  29. Annual performance review

Let’s consider how you might use it below.

Cluster on wall/flip-chart

  • Pick up a few anti-pattern cards that you need to consider.
  • Give participants the opportunity to generate any ideas around it (silent brainstorm).
  • Stick cards to the wall using tape.
  • Map post-its around them.
  • Look at them and discuss solutions.


Team Trust Grid

Use the cards as the headlines in a grid. Utilise it to consider different aspects and perspectives (for example from manager side, team and etc). Each column might represent ideas of how to handle this anti-pattern.

2015-02-09 22.04.17


Use flip-chart (or sticky tape) on walls to create timelines. Let the timeline demonstrate your team life cycle. During the sprint (or project) team members can put a card on the timeline when he/she faces any issues. Then you will discuss it during retrospectives.

Do you have any ideas how to apply it? Or maybe you have your own set of trust anti-patterns? Please, send to me or share it.


  1. Great idea Alexey.I really appreciate your sharing. Definitely I try it out. My version will be to print a set of similar cards for each team member and to establish three types Flip-chards on the wall: 1. I doesn’t exist in our team – 2. we experience at times, but on bearable extent – 3. are experiencing and it hurts us. Than I will ask all participants to bring their cards to FlipChart and divide their cards.Then we analyse just the 3rd FlipChard. Than in smaller groups I will ask them to let them develop strategies for possible solutions. It might work.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Alex,
    Did you ever try Boost-Trust Cards? It will build the confidence in team spirit. I did it this way and it brings more positivity in the atmosphere (just after I use Trust-Blockers Cards). What about this list:
    Boosters of trust:

    1. We can rely on each other words
    2. Talk the walk is consistent
    3. I believe in good will of others
    4. If necessary, we offer help without request
    5. Clear communication
    6. The expertise and willingness to share experiences
    7. The willingness to search for solutions
    8. Assertive behavior with regard of stakeholder´s needs
    9. Fulfillment of agreements
    10. Compliance with deadlines
    11. Loyalty to the team
    12. Respect for rules
    13. Rules taking account of the circumstances
    14. Transparent communication of true intentions
    15. We sincerely manifested compliment / praise
    16. The honest communication
    17. Authenticity
    18. A clear evaluation criteria
    19. Respect for others
    20. Responsibility
    21. Healthy competition, which positively motivates
    22. Realistic expectations
    23. Acceptance of the others/ unprejudiced
    24. Refusing gossiping
    25. Team player
    26. Constructive criticism
    27. Willingness to listen
    28. Expression of empathy
    29. Similar values
    30. Share Interests / Preferences

    Liked by 1 person

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