Leadership: Trust Matters

Let’s say you are the manager of a department that includes one hundred people, including supervisors and employees. How many of those people would you suspect are loyal, that is planning on sticking with the company? 34! How many of those people would you estimate are headed out the door? 36!

These findings from the 2007 Walker Loyalty Report for Loyalty in the Workplace states that just 34% of employees are sticking while another 36% are about to walk. That leaves 30% who either haven’t made up their minds or are just going with the flow.

Should you be concerned? I think so. If only a third of the people are with you then it means that two-thirds are either on the fence or going against you. No wonder you have difficulty getting things done.

The Walker Report measures loyalty five ways: fairness at work, care and concern, trust in employees, and feelings of accomplishment, and daily job satisfaction. Managers can affect all of these factors, but the single most important one may be trust. Trust is an operative driver; it affects the other four. So if you want to boost loyalty, then attacking trust may be the leverage point, but it is one that may be the most difficult to establish.

Saying "trust me" works about as well as taking a phone call from someone who wants to sell you a hot stock. Forget about it! Trust is earned; and it is earned the hard way. Let’s consider:

Do what you say you will do. Obvious, of course! But how often have you seen a manager make a promise and forget it? It happens everyday. So how can you make certain you follow through? Document it. Let people know what you plan to accomplish. When you finish, let folks know. More importantly, if you are falling short, either due to lack of time or resources, raise your hand – tell people about it. Give them a progress report. Then follow up until you do follow through.

Back your people when it counts. When a milestone is achieved, the boss needs to share the glory. More especially, he needs to put the team first. That is, talk up their achievements to senior management. Some folks will think this will jeopardize their chances of advancement. Maybe, but in the long run, reflecting glory positions you as a team player as well as one who puts people into positions where they can succeed.

Take one for the team. Tough times call for tough leaders. Have you ever seen a boss point her finger at others when the project fails? Of course. If you had not, then the basis of this research would be null and void. Managers who hold themselves personally accountable for results are managers who know how to take the heat. They have confidence enough to put up with the flak from up top. By doing so they earn respect of their employees.

Developing trust is important; it directly affects retention. It can boost loyalty rates among employees by positively affecting factors like fairness, accomplishment and job satisfaction. And that means dollars. Right Management, a leading human resources consulting firm, estimates that it costs employers 2.5 times an individual’s salary to replace that person. Those costs come from recruitment, training, and diminished productivity.

So bend a little, give a little, and buck up your team. Trust yourself and your team. It may make the difference in a team that hemorrhages talent from one that boosts productivity.

Source:
Brian Amble "Sliding loyalty causes retention headaches" www.management-issues.com 9.25.07 [Citing Walker Loyalty Report and Right Management]

John Baldoni • Leadership Expert: Executive Coach/Author/Speaker • Baldoni Consulting, LLC • www.johnbaldoni.com

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Janet

    Well stated. And amen. I once worked for a very large, very well known (one might even say beloved, at least by some) corporation. In the interview process, I stated no less than 12 times--to each of the 12 people I met for the most grueling interview I've ever been through--that having a career path with opportunities for advancement was the single most important factor in my deciding to take a job there. 12 people assured me that they promoted from within, encouraged movement from department to department and saw me on an editorial path. The reality? My creative director manager liked my writing and decided--with no input from me--that I was on the writing path (AKA, the road to nowhere; as I received not even one promotion in the 3-1/2 years I was there in spite of having won awards for my writing for my division and taking on assistant editorial director duties to "prove" I could "do the job"-- conveniently for the company, without benefit of title and pay) and that maybe I'd be a senior writer someday. All promises of advancement and opportunities for professional growth and development were conveniently forgotten because that didn't "serve" the company. Or, as an executive in the editorial department once said to me when I brought up my career (or lack thereof), "Have YOU ever considered that maybe WE just need YOU to write?" She certainly made one thing clear: it was past time for me to goose step myself right out of there! Turnover is costly, and marketplace reputation IS influenced by the experiences of past employees as well as those of current and past customers. I hold no illusions that my departure was even noticed by this company. But your research indicates that there are far too many people like me out there--(ex)-employees with whom companies have built zero trust, loyalty or credibility, and therefore delusional for expecting it in return--for companies to continue to ignore.