5 Reasons You Don't Trust Your Boss

A recent survey found more than a third of employees trust their managers less than in previous years.

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Lindsay Olson
While it seems intuitive that you should trust your boss at work, trust in the workplace is at an all-time low. Rather than managers acting on behalf of each of their employees and the team as a whole, many act only in their own self-interests, causing their employees to mistrust them.

In a recent study published by The Forum Corporation, the Leadership Pulse Survey, results show that a shocking 37 percent of employees trust managers less today than in the past. In fact, only 8 percent of employees said they trust their leaders "to a great extent."

So if trust can build a more successful and productive workplace, why aren't more leaders working to earn it from their employees?

There are a plethora of reasons why you may not trust your boss, but here are some of the most common:

1. He's not engaged with you and your co-workers. You don't want your boss to hold your hand in everything you do, but you do expect him to be better engaged and attuned to what's happening in the office. But it's a common issue, once an employee is promoted to manager, he sometimes loses touch with what's happening. As a result, you and your colleagues don't feel a connection to your boss and can't fully trust him to make the right decisions for the team.

If only he'd improve his engagement: the study shows that an engaged workforce can realize double-digit increases in both productivity and profitability, as well as reduce turnover by nearly 40 percent.

2. He doesn't own up to his mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, including your boss. Yet there's a serious contrast between how many managers say they apologize for their errors – 89 percent – versus how many employees agree that their managers own up to their mistakes, only 19 percent.. This might be because managers don't want to appear weak or flawed. Unfortunately, that puts one more check in the mistrust book for you.

3. He's often inconsistent. First, your boss tells you to work on Project A, as it is a priority. Then he comes back an hour later and demands Project B. (But you wanted me to work on Project A!) He's befuddling, to say the least and it often feels like you're working with a loaded gun, as you never know what he's going to command from you.

He may also have you on an emotional roller coaster: One minute he's praising your hard work, and the next he's berating you because you forgot a period at the end of a sentence.

4. He has outright lied. Maybe he took credit for one of your ideas or tried to cover up his own mistake. Whatever the reason, lying is a definite contributor to why you don't trust your boss. He probably isn't cut out to be a manager; he's clearly not comfortable in his role if he has to lie about it.

5. He lacks leadership skills. Let's face it: Some people are managers who shouldn't be. In corporate America, you're often promoted after you have a great deal of experience in a given field, but that doesn't always qualify you to manage people. Let's use the example of an IT manager. He's spent 10 plus years programming and now he's overseeing a staff. Being a great programmer doesn't necessarily mean he's got fabulous communication skills, and he may come off as gruff and as if he doesn't know how to get his point across.

According to the survey, 96 percent of employees said it's crucial to have a manager they can trust. But trust has to be earned and that's up to your boss to do.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.