Tuesday, June 20, 2020

Trusting People When You Can't See Them

Research from Inter-Tel in Great Britain, reported in the Glasgow Herald, shows once again that fine words—or even fine policies—on flexible working falter in the face of people’s belief that they’ll be punished if they opt for a better work/life balance:
Nearly 60% of office workers believe that requests to work more flexibly by those without children could have a negative impact on their career prospects. Many also believe that making a request for a more flexible work/life balance could be interpreted as being "a poor team player or too laid back".
The same article also points to a significant mistrust problem, saying that 40% of those questioned didn’t think their employer would trust them to work as well at home as they would in an office environment. When this type of attitude is prevalent, it must have a cause. I suspect many employers don’t trust their employees in any situation where they can’t be directly supervised.

In Victorian times, office workers sat in rows of desks in huge rooms, with the supervisor at the head of the room on a raised dais, so he (it was almost always he) could make sure everyone was working all the time. Not much trust there. Todays means may be different, but the intention—and the supervisory attitude—is the same. Employees will not work unless watched closely or made subject to stringent quotas and constant reporting in. That’s the “control” in command-and-control management. It’s there because the bosses don’t trust their staff.

Where there’s no trust between people, there can be no positive relationships. Trust is central to any kind of civilized approach to life and work. But you can’t create it in an instant. Trust needs TIME. Today’s speed-obsessed, macho management styles rarely produce much in the way of trusting relationships, which is why they do more to increase stress and pressure than lessen either.

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Kent Blumberg said...

Yes! Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

In the case of a working relationship, where the boss has all the formal power, it's the boss that has to take that first leap of faith. It's the boss that must trust the employees. And when you, as a leader, do really trust - and act from that trust - you will usually be glad you did.

Once a boss has acted from trust long enough and consistently enough, employees will begin to feel safe giving trust back.

11:49 AM  
Just Mohit said...

Do keep in mind as well that most companies & managers do not behave in trustworthy ways. One wonders why they are so frequently surprised by such behavious displayed by employees!

6:39 AM  

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