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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trust Erosion

Trust in managers is in short supply these days. As reported in TechRepublic, our research found that 19% of employees “rarely” trust their manager. Further, new research has revealed that nearly one-in-three employees perceive their immediate manager to be incompetent. The result: a workforce ready for greener pastures or one filled with silent saboteurs.

Lack of trust and faith in ability perpetuates a negative spiral inside organizations. Leadership is usurped. Employees quit and stay. Productivity suffers. And ultimately, performance dwindles.

As Robert Sutton cites in his blog on “I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me,” dysfunctional leaders often lack self-awareness. We’re talking more than just the run of the mill emotional intelligence. We’re talking about being insulated from reality, disconnected from subordinates.

Trust is a two-way street. Managers must show they have a plan, can articulate the plan to employees, and demonstrate that the plan is being implemented effectively. Employees need to trust that their managers have the capability to make the organization a success. And in turn, leaders must also show that they trust employees to drive the organization forward and make them valued partners of a common purpose. Employees want to know what the bigger picture is, and importantly, how they can contribute to that vision.

One of the most critical aspects in building trust is sincerity and candidness between an employee and his/her manager. This is the belief that each individual can be trusted to speak his or her mind openly, knowing that the other will listen with a helpful ear. With the degree of change taking place in many companies today, this growing erosion of trust is an indication that communication needs to be improved.

Have your created an environment to foster trust in your organization?

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