Who do you trust more, your boss or a stranger?

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

I bet you did a little giggle when you read the title then sat back and thought about it. Did you think back to your last few jobs and those bosses? Did you trust them? What’s that old saying, “I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you.”?

But, trusting strangers more than your boss? I first read that statistic in The Evolved Executive by Heather Hanson Wickman and thought that couldn’t be right. These people would have had to have gone through some pretty horrible situations with their bosses to tick the box for strangers.

I have worked for some amazing people. I have worked for some people that I have no idea how in the hell they got their title. I have only worked for one person that would have made me tick that box, but still, one person is more than anyone should have to go through.

So, let’s flip that statistic upside down. Have you thought about yourself as a boss, manager, HBIC? If you could be honest with yourself for just a few minutes when you think about each person in your charge, how would they answer that survey question about you? Have you broken the bonds of trust? Would you want you as a manager?

Maybe you don’t care. My first thought to that statement is to tell you to get another job. If you are responsible for others and don’t care about being a trustworthy person, then your team will never perform and you will constantly be in a wave of turnover where you are constantly chasing your tail.

Don’t believe me? There’s a global 10-year study that shows 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as their reason for leaving. And if you still think it has nothing to do with you and that your turnover has to do with people chasing a better income, only 12 percent of people actually leave for more money.

So if the stats say most people leave due to their boss, that must mean those people have been pushed to their limit. Have you thought about the health and wellbeing of those you lead? Working in an environment where your staff doesn’t believe you, don’t trust you and feel underappreciated creates a tremendous amount of stress.

“According to the Mayo Clinic, the person you report to at work is more important for your health than your family doctor.” – Bob Chapman, CEO of Global Manufacturer Barry-Wehmiller

Let that one sink in.

I’ve read this quote two separate times. Once online and again in The Evolved Executive. Each time, it set me back in my chair. I think we all know bad bosses, have had bad bosses and as a boss I know I’ve had bad days. But I don’t think I ever thought that my actions or lack thereof could be responsible for my team’s overall health and well-being.

When I read this stat in my Connected Leader workshops, it causes those leaders to pause in disbelief. I’m going to ask you again to reflect on those in your charge. Do you have people who don’t believe you? Do you have staff that always expect the worst? Do you have people who would rather eat glass then come and talk to you?

Those are real issues that pertain to stress and depression. Now I’m not saying that you are solely responsible for people’s depression or anxiety, but what are you doing to make them trust you at work? What are you doing to make them feel like they can trust a stranger before trusting you?

Gone are the days of creating childish competitive and commanding environments. Those practices do not work on today’s workforce. Hell, it doesn’t even work on the older workforce anymore. It’s time to step into the light and recognize that we as leaders are responsible for creating a healthy environment at work where trust is abundant. Those on our team have a part to play in creating the two-way street of trust, but the boss leads the way.

Lead with Greatness.