According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, almost one in three people don’t trust their employer. That’s bad news for businesses, because employees who perceive their leadership as trustworthy are more engaged, more satisfied, and more productive. Employees need to know that the person in charge won’t take advantage of his or her position – that they won’t lie, steal, play favorites or betray subordinates. Once subordinates lose trust in their leaders, the relationship is not likely to be repaired.
The trust issue is made even worse by the notion that many employees dislike their jobs. Some estimates suggest that 70% of the workforce consists of passive job seekers. These are people that while they are not actively looking for jobs, are more than willing to listen and explore other opportunities. Having a trusting relationship with the boss clearly improves both engagement and retention.
Let’s look at the four basic ways a leader can improve the trust factor:
- Be More Predictable– while it may not be very sexy, predictability is a major ingredient of trustworthiness. In fact, people who are very creative and spontaneous may have trouble getting others to trust them simply because it is often much harder to predict what they’ll do next.
- Be More Empathetic – employees want a boss who takes the time to understand them a bit. Take some time to understand the interests of the people on your team. Those could include personal, as well as, professional developmental interests.
- Be More Resilient – the ability to remain calm and resilient under pressure depends on high emotional intelligence. It’s difficult to trust a boss that freaks out in the course of stressful situations. In doing so, they unwittingly send a signal that when the going gets tough, they can be counted on to ‘lose it.’
- Be More Humble – Where self-promotion is one of the keys to making it to the corner office, humility may be the key to staying there. Humble managers engender trust and help build a better sense of team.
CAI helps employers build an engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplace. Let us help you tap into your employees potential to become effective leaders. For more information on developing your leaders, take a look at one of our upcoming courses, The Five Leadership Practices Certificate Program.
Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team. He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.