30 March 2022
When employees and managers don’t trust each other, the whole company suffers.
Distrust takes many forms; from people feeling scared to ask questions, to managers constantly interfering in their team’s work.
Once chronic and widespread, distrust poisons workplace relationships, engagement, retention, and business results.
Discover the science-backed workplace practices that help leaders close the trust gap with employees.
Research shows that employees working in high-trust rather than low-trust environments are:
Companies with high trust levels, also, outperform low trust competitors by 186%.
A separate meta-analysis of over 27,000 people in 106 different studies found that higher trust in leaders is linked to stronger job satisfaction and higher commitment from employees.
People who trust their leaders are less likely to quit and are more committed to company decisions than if they don’t trust their leader.
Many trees take decades to grow and mature, but just a day to chop down to their stumps.
Similarly, trust is easier to lose than gain, especially for bosses.
Some common mistakes leaders make are:
Cognitive trust describes the confidence in someone’s ability to do their job, and can take many years of hard work, studying, exams, and experience to achieve.
Affective trust ranks a person’s trustworthiness based on their personality, empathy, and personal relationships with others.
Studies suggest leaders must know how to build both to successfully lead their teams.
Hybrid working has added to the challenge, as the issue has caused a disconnect between many staff and their employers.
One study showed that there is a 20% gap between how much employees want to work from the office and the expectations of their employers.
When this tension isn’t resolved by employers, disgruntled staff feel they aren’t trusted to work from home, while managers doubt they have the backing of their team. That lowers morale, engagement, retention and productivity.
Build closer relationships with employees
Take time to get to know your people.
Show that you’re invested in their success through regular casual discussions and talk about their interests, motivations, and ideas.
People who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager compared to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged, and more likely to view leadership favourably.
Assign tasks to employees that align with their strengths and empower them to make positive and meaningful contributions to the team.
Research suggests that good delegation can energise people and helps to increase the level of speed, response and customer satisfaction for all stakeholders.
Inspire your team with a growth mindset
Create an environment that reframes difficult moments and mistakes as an opportunity for improvement rather than a blocker. Employees that adopt an optimistic, growth mindset are:
Agree psychological ‘contracts’ with the team
Great leaders create mutual agreements with their direct reports and teams on how they work.
The types of agreements vary. It can include agreeing the days when the whole team works from the office or deciding who takes the lead in daily meetings.
When people believe hard work is matched by fair and balanced support from their employer, job satisfaction and trust surge.
Are your organisation’s managers struggling to live up to their leadership potential?