Does Your Boss Trust You?

Workplace issues are never out of the public discussion. Here are some recent media highlights: CBS News talks on “How to Handle Toxic Bosses“; BusinessWeek discusses “maltweetment” – people using social networking to get back at their higher-ups and co-workers; Time analyzes a New York state bill that targets workplace bullying; and AOL DimeCrunch highlights a new job market tendency, the “tempreneur,” that requires a special approach from HR managers and recruiters.

In my recent Psychology Today article I talk about another issue that can create problems in the workplace: bosses who have an “employee trust deficit.” Here are some samples:

…There is a fine line between frequent communication and micro-management. Very often, a hovering, meddling boss leaves little incentive for you to produce your best work – because you believe that in the final analysis the end product won’t be yours. Ironically, many managers feel that they are providing a service to their team members. At times, managers with the best intentions may not realize that they are not being a devoted mentor, but rather an unwitting menace. You are left feeling as if there is little or no trust in your decision-making.

If managers have reason to feel that work is sub-par, of course, they will pay greater attention and will want to help. But this discussion is about those situations where the help becomes “unhelpful.”

The trust gap between bosses and employees can be mutually self-perpetuating. The same lack of trust in your judgment begets mistrust in your boss. This gap is at the root of significant downtime in your job, which clearly isn’t helpful to you or your company.

As studies commissioned by Lynn Taylor Consulting and conducted by a global research firm reveal, U.S. employees spend a whopping 19.2 hours a week (13 hours during the work week and 6.2 hours on the weekend) worrying about “what a boss says or does.”

Read more about the importance of mutual trust and find suggestions on how to handle the problem here.