Do your employees trust you?
Do your employees trust you? A recent suggests they probably do not. They trust their co-workers and they even like their job for the most part, but they don't believe that their managers are making the best decisions. This is especially true when it comes to decisions made about them.
I have two questions for you to think about:
1) Does it matter that your employees don't trust you?
2) How do you find out?
I believe the first question is the easier one to answer - YES, it matters very much. The two biggest reasons why it matters are related - PERFORMANCE and Profits.
I guarantee you that you will not get top performance out of any employee who does not trust you. If they don't trust you to make the best decisions AND trust you to look out for their best interests - they feel they have to do it themselves. The time they spend doing that, or thinking about how to do it, takes away from their production, their quality, and their creativity.
Okay, be a Type A, or a 9,1 on the GRID. You may be able to push performance levels up, but you can't keep them there. Without the employees' trust you won't get that spark of creativity from them that is so important. They won't innovate that one little idea that could have kept you ahead of your competitor.
Let's face it. The performance of your employees reflects heavily on your own performance. After all, Management is the ability to get things done through others. If you can't get top performance from your employees, how can you prove to your boss that you are a great manager?
If your employees don't trust you, you probably aren't going to trust them too much. You will end up spending your time, and you are short of that already, checking up on them. That time could be better spent elsewhere, couldn't it?
We just documented the time wasted by both the manager and the employees because of lack of trust. You can measure the cost of those wasted hours, but the bigger cost is lost innovation and creativity. Profits are not made by doing a job well. They are made by DOING IT BETTER.
It doesn't matter too much whether that is by "Continuous Improvement" or by sudden change. All that really matters is that it happens. Your competitors are going to find newer, better, cheaper ways to do things. If you don't, you'll lose customers and then lose profits.
Question two may be a little harder to answer (how can I find out whether they trust me?), but here are some suggestions:
One of the simplest ways to get an answer is to ask direct questions. You probably have someone in your group whom you trust. Don't ask them how they feel, instead ask them how the group feels. Don't try and isolate comments about specific individuals. Concentrate instead on group impressions. You will be surprised at what you can learn.
Listen to Them
When you ask an employee a question, really listen to their answer. It's almost like reading between the lines. If they start to tell you something and then stop, that is a pretty good example that they don't completely trust you.
Be Less Formal
Get out of your office. Management by Walking Around (MBWO) really does work. Not only are people more apt to approach you in "their territory," but you will hear and see things that never make it into the reports that come into your office. Besides, when your employees see you walking around, they begin to see you as a person, not just as "the boss." It's a lot easier to mistrust "the boss" than to mistrust an individual.
Trust is earned. It takes time to earn the trust of your employees, but you can be part of the top third, part of the group of managers whose employees trust them, part of the group that is maximizing performance and profits. Show them that they can trust you to look out for their best interests, and it is surprising how quickly they will begin to trust your ability to make good decisions.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, or if there is an issue you would like us to address, please post them on our Management Forum to share with the entire group.