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How Confident Are You in Your Leaders?

Recognize This! – Listening and courage are two primary ways for managers  to restore employee trust and confidence.

Employee trust in their management is critical to employee engagement and performance. After all, would you give your best to a manager you don’t trust?

The trend for decades now, however, has been a reduced level of trust in management. Korn/Ferry tracks the level of confidence in leadership and the impact on economic data. While Q1 2011 showed favorably, I think the latest data will show a downward trend again.

Here’s an interesting quote from Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting CEO Ana Durita:

“We continue to track confidence in leadership against economic factors, but this wave of data suggests other environmental influences may override the impact of economic data. With many different types of economies, the most important question is how and why factors such as financial, geo-political, and ethical volatility are destabilizing confidence in corporate leadership with varying intensity in different parts of the world.”

That’s an important factor to always keep in mind. When employees begin to lose confidence and trust in company leadership, it may not be leadership’s fault (or, at least, not entirely leadership’s fault). As the economy still slowly recovers and many employees are not seeing a lessening of the burden they first felt during the aftermath of the recession, they may blame their managers and senior leadership for factors out of leadership control.

What can leaders and managers do to counteract this slip in trust and confidence? Dave Logan offered suggestions in a recent BNET article:

“Many of the worst leaders I know don’t listen, don’t like to listen, and hide in their offices talking to a small circle of people who think like they do. … Courage goes far beyond avoiding moral lapses.  It means finding a set of principles that the leader will use to make decisions, so that no one doubts where they stand.”

Listen – even when you don’t like what you’re hearing. And have the courage to do what needs to be done. These are two excellent ways management can restore employee trust and confidence.

If you don’t, you may end up in the same boat as Newt Gingrich whose entire campaign team left him when he didn’t listen to their wise counsel and who didn’t have the courage to do what needed to be done.

Do you have trust and confidence in your management team today? What do your managers do (or should they do) to build your trust?

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