Why employees don’t trust their leaders

Trust, one of the key elements to productive business relationships, is in short supply these days. An Associated Press-GfK poll discovered that only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted and nearly two-thirds says “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people.
December 16, 2013 |
Steven Burns

Photo: ImageryMajestic; FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Trust, one of the key elements to productive business relationships, is in short supply these days. 

An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in November 2013 discovered that only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted and nearly two-thirds says “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people.

This same sentiment carries over into the workplace, according to Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis, who writes that employees want their leaders to be more trustworthy and transparent. 

“Employees just want the truth,” Llopis writes. “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.”

The article cites seven signs of leaders who are difficult for employees to trust:

1. Lack courage—Leaders that don’t stand up for what they believe in are difficult to respect and trust. 

2. Hidden agendas—Employees want to follow leaders who care less about the politics and more about how to accomplish goals and objectives.

3. Self-centered—Great leaders are great coaches and are always looking to help their employees grow and prosper. 

4. Reputation issues—When people begin to speak negatively about their leader, it makes it more difficult for others to trust their intentions and vision. 

5. Inconsistent behavior—Leaders who are consistent with their approach and intentions are those who can be trusted.  

6. Don’t get their hands dirty—When leaders are over-delegating and not getting their hands dirty, employees begin to question whether they actually know what is required to get the job done.  

7. Lack a generous purpose—When leaders are not grateful for people’s performance efforts, it’s difficult to trust that they have intentions to be more efficient, resourceful and collaborative.

Read more from Forbes.

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. Text and images were provided by the sponsor company. 

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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