You don’t have to be a psychologist to detect when someone is being disingenuous with you. We all have a built in fake-o-meter, but somehow never realize when we’re setting it off to those around us. Managers can often times be the worst offenders. They can get so caught up in hitting the numbers and driving productivity, that they completely lose sight of the real human relationships at work, and how they themselves are perceived.
A 2013 Payscale survey revealed that 87% of employees don’t trust their bosses. What a sad, sad number! When we consider just how much of voluntary turnover can be attributed to poor employee/management relationships, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that this is an area of business that needs immediate attention. Payscale reporter Leah Arnold-Smeets suggests that this lack of trust stems from four main issues.
Well I bet you saw this one coming a mile away. When you boil down most workplace issues, poor communication is going to be somewhere in the mix. Heart-felt, or genuine leadership means coming from the perspective of doing everything with the employee’s success in mind. Leaders should ask themselves constantly, “Do my employees have everything they need in order to be successful in their work?”
As far as communication goes, that doesn’t only mean defined expectations; it means continuous feedback, recognition for hard work, energizing and uplifting words and above all, gratitude. Named one of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Places to Work”, Robert Half knows exactly what workplace communication needs:
“Are you accessible to your employees? Managers should never assume that workers will contact them to ask for advice or alert them of a problem. Nor should managers feel confident that every message they send electronically will be clearly understood by the recipient. Instituting an open-door policy – and making staff aware of it – will encourage greater communication in the workplace.”
Experts also suggest that continuous, short employee engagement and feedback surveys are a great way to facilitate honest communication between workers and their employers.
Lack of Perceived Caring
Notice that word “perceived”? Employees need proof –they need to know that they are valued and supported. Genuine caring will always shine through, no matter how hard-lined your leadership style might be.
69% of US employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
Susan Steinbrecher, an executive coach and co-author of Heart-Centered Leadership: Lead Well, Live Well, said, “As human beings, we all have the need to be valued, cared for, listened to, empathized with, and empowered.” When leaders come to the realization that they share these basic human needs with their workers, it is the first step to being able to provide them.
We’ve all had that boss, the one whom you never could tell which side you were going to get, on any given day. They let their emotions or attitude dictate everyone’s day, and it is always a guessing game. Most leaders aren’t even aware that they’re doing it either. The problem is that there is rarely a system in place for feedback or 360 reviews for managers.
“The leaders who blow up at one person but listen intently to another are creating employees afraid to approach you. They lack trust in your counsel or guidance or words that say ‘my door is always open,’ and no matter how often you persuade them to share, they’ll stop trusting that you actually care.” – Leadership Development Strategist, Monica Wofford
Perceptions of Favoritism
Whether it’s intentional or not, even the perception of favoritism can immediately leave workers feeling devalued and unmotivated. It can be tough to avoid the perception of favoritism, but again, it starts with a long hard look in the mirror, through employee feedback and an open-door communication policy.
A recent study of the federal workplace revealed that 28% of employees surveyed said they believe their supervisors engage in favoritism and 30% of human resources management employees reported a belief in supervisory favoritism.
Managers need the honesty of their staff in order to prevent these four, all too common workplace issues. That honesty is only going to come from the genuine solicitation of feedback, and then the diligent application of it. Genuine leadership really can make a difference in the workforce. Don’t leave your heart out of leadership; it’s the most important part!