Don't Follow the Leader: Why 40% of Workers Don't Trust Their Bosses

Don't Follow the Leader: Why 40% of Workers Don't Trust Their Bosses

Your boss may not be your favorite person in the world, or someone you want to spend Saturdays hanging out with. But, when it comes to leading the company, you should at least have faith that he'll make the right decisions.

Apparently, even that may be too much to ask.

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According to new research by Interaction Associates, a workplace performance improvement company, just 40% of U.S. workers reported a high level of trust in their superiors. In fact, more than a quarter of respondents said they trust their bosses less now than they did last year.

That's in spite of the fact that 82% of employees say being able to trust their managers is crucial to their work performance.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a culture of distrust between bosses and their underlings can have hugely negative impacts on a company's bottom line. The study also found that "Trust Leader" companies (firms whose employees have a high level of trust in their management and organization) are 2.5 times more likely to be be leaders in revenue growth than "Trust Laggards" (firms whose employees don't trust their managers). What's more, Trust Leaders are more effective in achieving customer loyalty and retention.

But a lack of trust doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for a struggling firm. The survey collected ideas about how leaders can cultivate trust among their employees, and the number-one priority was transparency: Workers wish their bosses would ask for their input on decisions that affect them and give background information to help them understand those decisions.

Other tips for companies looking to start growing institutional trust? Help workers succeed by providing relevant tools, resources and learning opportunities; own up to mistakes; and don't penalize employees for raising their concerns.

Think you've got more impressive leadership skills than your current manager? Take this quiz to find out whether you'd really be a better boss than your boss.

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