April 2017 has been a month of public relations blunders with brands such as Pepsi, Samsung, United and Adidias making big mistakes before out eyes. Unfortunately, trust is in rare supply everywhere these days. Countless surveys reveal that consumer trust is at an all-time low of the brands looking for their attention and dollar spend.
This same sentiment can be carried over into the workplace, where employees want their leaders to be more trustworthy and transparent. Leaders are challenged between informing their employees of the entire truth and holding back certain realities so as not to unnecessarily scare people or lose top talent. More and more leaders today are being placed into uncomfortable moral dilemmas because they are attempting to salvage their own jobs while trying to maintain the trust and loyalty of their employees.
Consumers, employees, stakeholders just want the truth. They have learned that the old templates of doing things just don’t apply (as much) anymore and more than ever they need their leaders to have their backs. Unfortunately, many leaders are operating in survival mode and don’t have the sphere of influence they once had.
But they can still take these six steps to regain that influence and re-establish trust by doing these six things:
1. Lose the Hidden Agendas
Shrewd leaders can be a benefit to employees but not if they are viewed as devious and inauthentic – all about the politics and not about how employees can accomplish their goals and objectives. Leaders must be careful not to give their employees the impression of having a hidden agenda. They want to believe that their leaders are focused on the betterment of the team. If this requires well-intentioned political maneuvering to advance team goals and objectives, then great. However, if it comes across that a leader is solely intent on protecting themselves and their own personal agendas – trust from the team will be lost quickly and difficult to recapture.
2. Be Other-Directed
Leaders can’t do at it alone. When leaders are only looking out for themselves and lack any sense of commitment to the advancement of their employees, employees shut down. Great leaders are great coaches and are looking for ways to align their goals and the goals of the company so everyone grows and prospers.
3. Be Consistent in Behavior
People are more inclined to trust those who are consistent with their behavior – not their decisions their behavior. It is easy to begin questioning one’s motives and judgment when a person is inconsistent. I’ve worked with clients who appear to be on the same page – only to notice that they begin to disconnect when they believe that the direction of a project is not allowing them to mobilize their own agendas. In other words, when everyone but the leader is on board with a strategy – you begin to wonder if their intentions are to support the organization’s advancement or their own. Leaders who are consistent with their approach and intentions are those who can be trusted. This is why so many leaders need to refresh their leadership style before they lose the trust of their employees.
4. Work with a Generous Purpose
When leaders do not have the best interest of others at heart. When they are not grateful for your performance efforts. When they are always attempting to squeeze every bit of effort they can out of you, it’s difficult to trust that they have intentions to be more efficient, resourceful and collaborative. Employees don’t ever want to feel taken advantage of – especially during a time when everyone is being asked to do more with less. Leaders must be more appreciative of their employees and more mindful of their endeavors.
5. Manage Reputation Issues
Every brand, every company will have good and bad moments, PR In Canada has covered a lot of agencies who have gone through ups and downs. Most leaders start their terms with a honeymoon period as they try and unite their staff. The media, employees are always evaluating and thus no leader can ever grow complacent. When leaders do, this not only negatively impact their reputation but also further erodes and the trust employees have in them.