Why Your Employees will Never Trust you

Have you ever felt that your employees do not trust you? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Feelings of trust towards managers, team leaders, CEOs have fallen in recent years. Edelman Trust Barometer statistics revealed that average trust in organizations is at an all-time low of 52 percent. The issue of trust in the workplace and organizations has been attracting a lot of attention lately as there seem to be no imminent changes in the statistics. Another piece of research found out that one-fifth (20%) of employees do not trust their management and senior leaders. It’s therefore imperative to examine some factors that can cause distrust in the workplace. As an employer trust is a crucial part of your business as it can have a significant on business growth. Trust is especially important in business; it affects employee productivity and retention.

A study conducted by the Chartered Management Institute and leadership events reported that although 72% of senior leaders assume they’re highly trusted as a manager, only about 36% of line managers trust their leaders to a reasonable extent. Gaining the trust of employees is critical to business success. Robert Phillips succinctly describes what business leaders must do to gain the trust of their employees. He pointed out that ‘Trust is not a function of PR, not a message, but instead it’s an outcome. It is both complex, behavioral, and fragile. Gaining the trust of an individual is not just a day’s work, it’s the culmination of actions that have been done daily. After several years of working as a business consultant, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of distrust within an organization. It breeds poor behaviors, results and reduced productivity. One of the biggest challenges you will ever face as a business leader in achieving a culture of trust. However, building trust remains one of the most strategic and smartest ways of improving bottom-line results. So what do you need to do to bridge the employee-employer divide in order to truly earn your employees’ trust? Well, consider some useful tips.


Employers generally shy away from been transparent in a bid to avoid giving out ‘company secrets’ that may affect the company adversely. However, in your dealings with your employees, a different approach must be adopted. Of course, there are bits of financial information that you won’t be sharing with everyone, but you should be as transparent as you possibly can about the state of the company and your visions for the future. The CMI report stated that two-thirds of line manager (about 63%) stated that they wanted CEOs to share their thoughts on important issues relating to the company. Leaving employees in the dark on important issues or delegating responsibilities without giving them a clear understanding of what roles these tasks will play in the grand scheme of things will be detrimental. For example, you can look out for practical ways to include your employees in the decision-making process. Transparency at work engenders employee’s productivity, boosts morale and will likely move them to reciprocate the trust.


Entry interviews are aimed at acclimatizing potential employees with the mission, goals, and objectives of the company. Deploying smart hiring practices can result in hiring accountable team members that will sustain the company’s culture. Never assume that technical skills can trump character, remember skills can be learned. Use well thought out questions to determine character. It’s equally important that you listen to your employees’ input after all the new hires will be working closely with them. It will show that you have their interests at heart and value their feedback.


If you seem detached from your employees with no genuine interest in them, then don’t expect them to trust you. People aren’t going to trust you if you don’t value their input. Employees feel good when you genuinely ask them for their input on weighty matters. It is empowering to know that they are truly an integral part of the team and the organization. Interestingly, asking for your employee’s input is a win-win situation. Apart from gaining the trust of your employees, you will also hear some helpful practical suggestions that can be implemented.  Give your employees decision making power and help them express their creativity. Learning to trust your employees, will naturally inline them to trust you back.


One of the biggest factors causing distrust is when employees feel that they are not supported by their employees. As a leader, invest in your employees by providing regular training and creating a clear path for them to make progress. Employees are generally becoming more ambitious and as such it’s important to implement in-depth personal development plans for individual employees, with the pertinent training to ensure that goals are met.


It still amazes me in this day and age how many employers will offer the potential of a raise or title change or some new responsibility only to have to pull it away later when budgets or departments change. It’s a great idea to have goals based conversations with your employees; however, don’t promise something unless you know with 100% certainty that you can provide it. I can’t tell you how many people come into my practice looking for new work simply because they keep getting promised things that never come to fruition.


Want to know more about Christopher

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.