Survey Shows Lack of Trust in Leaders – How Executive Coaching Can Help
Trust in leadership is an issue that has been attracting a lot of attention recently. We’ve seen articles discussing the importance of leadership, factors that can hinder trust in leadership and what happens when trust in leadership isn’t prioritised in a company.
As an HR consultancy that focuses on leadership and executive assessment, this is an area that fascinates us. As such, we decided to conduct an anonymous online survey, calling on people to share their opinions on their leaders. Specifically, we asked them whether or not they trusted their managers, and the results spoke volumes about the current state of leadership in 2017.
Our survey results indicated that 43% of participants trusted their managers, while 57% stated categorically that they didn’t. This is a worrying result that indicates we need to pay greater attention when it comes to training our leaders and providing them with the tools they need to succeed and engage their employees.
Below, we’ll cover how a lack of trust in leadership might be arising and how we can remedy the situation to the benefit of everyone in a company.
Employees might lose faith in their managers for a number of reasons. It could be that managers have failed to prioritise healthy communication through regular employee discussions. If this is the case, relationships can’t develop and trust can’t take root. For this reason, many companies are choosing to incorporate monthly performance check-ins, which is great for trust and engagement.
A lack of trust will also arise from inconsistent behaviour. If a manager has a tendency to blame others for their mistakes, they never hold themselves accountable, or they’re quick to anger, any reasonable employee would be hesitant to genuinely trust their leader.
Trust in leadership begins with hiring and promoting the right people. Natural-born leaders might not exist, but companies can certainly make use of psychometric testing to screen for leadership strengths, as well as characteristics that are reflective of your company’s culture and ethos. Simply promoting the top performers won’t work, as they may not have the ability or inclination to unite a team and motivate them towards achieving a common goal. On the other hand, an executive assessment might reveal that the quiet, unassuming employee who has been making slow but steady progress has the potential to be a truly effective, trustworthy leader.
The life of an executive isn’t an easy one. It is full of stress. It can be lonely at the top and, in fact, the life of an executive often causes them to burn out and resign. Perhaps because of reasons like this, Psychology Today has suggested that every CEO needs an executive coach. In fact, there are many reasons to invest in executive coaching. Having an objective third party to guide new executives and facilitate their transition can result in lower stress levels and a more confident executive with the ability to put others first and prioritise his or her employees. This is a recipe for a leader employees can respect, admire and trust.
A succession plan is put in place in the event that if an executive retires, resigns or is let go, there is a pipeline of trained, qualified talent to step up and take their place. A carefully thought-out succession plan ensures that each individual who is promoted has another employee lined up to take over, ensuring a smooth transition with minimal confusion and stress. Such an easy transition means that everyone involved has the right training required and nobody feels out of their depth.
In this scenario, a new leader will have the tools necessary to manage and motivate employees, while giving them all they need to accomplish their goals.
Leadership has evolved so much to become what it is today. Each generation has different needs and requirements and, as the years go by, it is becoming clear that transparency is critical to employee morale and trust. Leaders should remember that everyone at a company is important, they all have a role to play, and they deserve to be kept in the loop with regards to company progress and objectives. If the company is facing problems, don’t shy away from informing employees.
Communication needs to be honest and authentic for trust to flourish. If you hold back valuable company information from your workforce, they’ll get the impression you don’t trust them and, if this is the case, they won’t trust you in return. On the other hand, openness and honesty in this area will help to build trust and demonstrate to your employees that you value them and their future at your company.
At Davis Associates, our incredible team of business psychologists and HR consultants work across various businesses to deliver executive coaching and leadership assessment services, as well as building successful teams. To speak to one of our dedicated business psychologists, get in touch with us today and we’ll help you unlock the hidden potential of your workforce.