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Reasons employees don't trust their leaders
June 22, 2014, 1:39 pm

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.  Here are seven early warning signs to look out for so you can course-correct when employees are having trouble trusting their leaders:

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

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.

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.

Inconsistent behavior: People are more inclined to trust those who are consistent with their behavior.   Isn’t it easy to begin questioning one’s motives/judgment when they are inconsistent?  Leaders who are consistent with their approach and intentions are those who can be trusted.  

Don’t get involved: Leaders must be in touch with the business, just as much as they lead it. When leaders are over-delegating and not getting their hands dirty – employees begin to question whether or not their leader actually knows what is required to get the job done.  Distrust amongst employees begins to rise.The 21st century leader must be more in-touch in order to effectively evaluate the business and coach their employees.   

Lack a generous purpose: When a leader doesn’t genuinely have your best interests at heart, it’s difficult to trust them.  They are not grateful for your performance efforts – and are always attempting to squeeze every bit of effort they can out of you – it’s difficult to trust that they have intentions to be more efficient, resourceful and collaborative.

Employees don’t ever want to feel taken advantage of – especially during a time when everyone is being asked to do more with less. It is beneficial for the entire workplace if leaders show their employees appreciation and are compassionate. Leaders can expect their employees to give them everything they’ve got to increase their performance impact when they are willing to do the same.


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