DirectoriesAdd Your Business
News Archive Search
Seven Reasons Employees Don't Trust Their Leaders
By Glenn Llopis
As the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela and commemorates his greatness as a leader, we would do well to remember that one of the many hallmarks of his leadership wastrust. The greatest leaders in the world gravitated toward Mr. Mandela because he was genuinely trustworthy and his purpose was to support peace, prosperity and unity not only in South Africa - but throughout the world. Mandela was able to lead people in ways that many find impossible to do. As he famously said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."
Unfortunately, trust is in rare supply these days. People are having trouble trusting each other, according to an AP-GfK poll conducted in November 2013, which found that Americans are suspicious of each other in their everyday encounters. Only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted - down from half who felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question. Forty years later, in 2013, a record high of nearly two-thirds says "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.
This same sentiment can be carried over into the workplace, where employees want their leaders to be more trustworthy and transparent. Employees have grown tired of unexpected outcomes resulting from the lack of preparation. They want to be informed of any change management efforts before - not after the fact. Employees desire to know what is expected of them and be given the opportunity to reinvent themselves, rather than be told they are not qualified for new roles and responsibilities and can no longer execute their functions successfully.
Leaders are challenged between informing their employees of the entire truth and holding back certain realities so as not to unnecessarily scare people or lose top-talent. More and more leaders today are being placed into uncomfortable moral dilemmas because they are attempting to salvage their own jobs while trying to maintain the trust and loyalty of their employees.
The growing tensions between leaders and their employees are creating productivity challenges as uncertainty becomes the new normal in the workplace. Furthermore, leaders are beginning to lose control of their own identities and effectivenessas their employees begin to lose trust in their intentions because of hidden agendas and political maneuvering - casting clouds of doubt over their futures.
Employees just want the truth. They have learned that the old ways of doing things just don't apply (as much) anymore and more than ever they need their leaders to have their backs. Unfortunately, many leaders are operating in survival mode and don't have the sphere of influence they once had; without leaders to sponsor and mentor them, high-potential employees must now figure out the changing terrain on their own.
Here are seven early warning signs to look out for so you can course-correct when employees are having trouble trusting their leaders:
1. Lack Courage
Leaders that don't stand up for what they believe in are difficult to respect and trust. Too many leaders today battle the gulf between assimilation and authenticity. They waste too much of their valuable time trying to act like other leaders in the organization - rather than attempting to establish their own identity and leadership style. This is why less than 15% of leaders have defined and live their personal brand.
Perhaps leaders don't believe that their employees are paying attention to this behavior - but they are intently observing. Employees are always in tune to what their leaders are doing and how they manage themselves. Employees know that if their leaders are not savvy enough to move themselves into a position of greater influence, it will make it that much more difficult for them to get noticed and discovered as well. The influence of a leader carries a lot of weight when it comes to how their colleagues judge and evaluate the potential of their employees.
When leaders lack the courage to enable their full potential and that of others, it becomes a challenge to trust their judgment, self-confidence, self-awareness and overall capabilities.
2. Hidden Agendas
Leaders that are too politically savvy can be viewed as devious and inauthentic. Employees want to follow leaders who are less about the politics and more about how to accomplish goals and objectives. While being politically savvy is important, leaders must be careful not to give their employees the impression of orchestrating hidden agendas.
Employees want to believe that their leaders are focused on the betterment of the team. If this requires well-intentioned political maneuvering to advance team goals and objectives, then great. However, if it comes across that a leader is solely intent on protecting themselves and their own personal agendas - trust from the team will be lost quickly and difficult to recapture.
Hidden agendas make it difficult to trust that a leader's intentions and decision-making are not self-centered. When a leader is only looking out for themselves and lacks any sense of commitment to the advancement of their employees - this shuts-off employees quickly
There're two more pages… continue reading page 2 of "Seven Reasons Employees Don't Trust Their Leaders" on the Forbes website.
Visit our sponsors