Top reasons employees don't trust their managers revealed

5 min read  |   13 July, 2018   By Sarah Benstead

A manager is hosting a meeting with his employees who are sitting around a white table. On the table there is a keyboard and lots of notebooks.

Ever felt like your employees don’t trust or have confidence in you? You’re definitely not the only one. Feelings of distrust towards managers, team leaders and CEOs have plummeted in the recent years, with average trust in organisations sitting at just 52% according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.

The issue has been attracting a lot of attention as the statistics have been worsening. Our recent research found that one fifth (20%) of workers don’t trust their senior leaders and management. As an employer, it's important to be aware of the factors that could lead to your employees losing faith, as it can quite easily have a significant effect on business growth. So, in this article we take a look at the reasons why employees lose trust in their managers.

Lack of training and support

When employees are not provided with necessary training, or are not invited to regular 1-to-1s, they will begin to feel that their employer is not invested in them. They will soon begin to feel that they are stuck in their roles, with no sight of any opportunity to progress within the company in the months, or even years to come. It goes without saying that this will inevitably lead to job dissatisfaction, low morale and, potentially even employees handing in their notice and packing up their desks. 

Out of the 20% of employees who don’t trust their managers, a staggering 59% admitted that it was because they do not feel supported by them – the biggest contributing factor to distrust.

It’s very common nowadays for employees to be ambitious and to be looking for opportunities to progress within a company, so it’s crucial that time is taken to understand employees’ personal plans. An effective way of doing this is by implementing in-depth personal development plans for each employee, with the relevant training provided to ensure that goals are met.

Do they know what they’re doing?

Our research also revealed that 53% of employees who don’t trust their managers feel this way because their managers ‘don’t appear to know what they are doing’.

If managers fail to effectively communicate, or over-delegate and don't their hands dirty, employees will begin to question whether they know how to do the job in relation to what the business needs to grow. Inevitably, this creates another opportunity for trust to collapse, dragging job satisfaction and employee retention down with it too.

It’s important that managers lead by example and act as a figure to look up to and trust within a business. If employees respect their leader, they’re much more likely to stay. In fact, more than half of employees say they’d turn down a 10% pay increase to stay with a great boss that they respect and trust.

Lack of transparency

Transparency is often something that employers shy away from, mainly due to fear of others finding out crucial information or business “secrets”, which can have detrimental repercussions on a company.

However, when it comes to employees, a different approach is necessary. Our research tells us that, of the 20% of employees who didn’t trust their managers, 50% blamed their mindsets on a lack of transparency.

Instead of being secretive or reshaping information as it’s passed down the business, if a manager instead demonstrates transparency and honesty towards employees, they will soon find that employees are much more engaged with the business goals, and therefore more motivated to meet them. Employees will feel happier at work, too - feeling as though they have a trusting manager is a great morale-booster, and will also mean they are much more likely to return the trust.

Transparency can be practiced in many different ways. For example, why not look at changing your procedures so that employees are involved in the decision-making?

They are self-centered

If leaders lack a generous purpose, employees will begin to feel that they do not have their best interests at heart and are not interested in helping their staff grow or develop in their role - and therefore find it difficult to trust them. Employees may feel that they are being taken advantage of, which is never a good thing, especially at a time when they are often pressured to do more with less.

Managers need to be adequately reciprocating what the team are providing for them. If they don’t, how can they expect their staff to be continuously pushing themselves to better their performance and meet objectives?

They play too much office politics

The Culture Economy Report also found that, out of those who had feelings of distrust towards their leaders, 38% said that the reason was that they were too involved in office politics.

If employees are under the impression that their managers are investing more time and energy in the politics, they will begin to doubt that they are focused on goals, objectives and business growth. Employees may even start to believe that their managers have hidden agendas, making for low trust levels, low morale and little or no job satisfaction.

Office politics can result in a toxic company culture, and, as a manager, it’s important that you intervene in order to change it. But actually getting involved with the politics can have detrimental effects on employee trust and morale, so it’s best to think twice before you do.

So, why is trust so important?

If you find yourself in the position where your employees don’t trust you as a manager, it can have serious effects on the development and growth of the business. When employees start to form feelings of distrust towards their leaders, they can start to feel as though they are not invested in their employee development, that they are not engaged with the business goals or that they may have their own personal agendas – to name but a few. These feelings will, in turn, result in unhappy and unmotivated employees, low morale and, in the worst cases, problems with employee retention.

So, it’s crucial that as a manager or employer, you are aware of the factors that can lead to employees having feelings of distrust, and the steps to can take to preventing it. By doing this you will be ensuring your employees are engaged with the business goals and that you are working as a team to drive the business forward.


Author: Sarah Benstead

Sarah is a Product Marketing Specialist here at Breathe. Always innovating, she loves writing about product releases in an engaging & informative way. When she's not coming up with new ideas, she enjoys long walks with her dog, Clifford.

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