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Annie Hayes

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Mistrust of senior managers strangles business

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New research suggests that the current economic uncertainty within business could be compounded by a growing mistrust of senior managers.

HR consultancy BlessingWhite found that while almost three quarters of workers trust their immediate managers, less than half feel the same way about their organisation’s senior management team.

Worryingly, the survey also found that 51% of middle managers definitely plan to leave their current roles at some point this year, or are wavering. In addition, nearly a third of middle managers don’t trust their senior management team.

Tom Barry, European managing director at BlessingWhite, said: “Our research has revealed that many senior managers appear to be issuing strategies from an ivory tower. Their direction can’t filter through middle managers that don’t trust them.”

On a more positive note, the research also showed that the so-called ‘Generation-Y’ workers (those born between 1977 and 1990) are more trusting of senior management, with 59% reporting they trusted their organisation’s senior team.

Barry added: “Business leaders must give middle managers the structure and tools they need to help staff establish a strong connection with, and commitment to, their work.

“But they must also find a genuine, authentic leadership voice themselves – one that inspires trust. The most successful companies make employee engagement an ongoing priority, not a once-a-year event. Without trust, engagement initiatives can seem hollow.”

One Response

  1. No real engagement without trust
    I agree with this article on HR Zone wholeheartedly, and would add that the only way senior managers can build trust with other managers and staff is by:

    – consistent, jargon-free communication and
    – 2 way feedback with visible changes resulting from that feedback, both individually and organisationally

    I would suggest therefore:

    – more honest discussions at individual and team level
    – formal and informal ways of finding out what’s going on and measuring key activities and attitudes, such as 360 Degree Feedback, Attitude and Engagement surveys)
    – and lots of help for managers to balance their sometimes conflicting role as employee coach and mentor on one side and company representative on the other

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