Question: I am a self-employed businessman. My staff are losing hope in the way I lead, what can I do to regain their trust?
Answer: First of all, you need to accept that you never had their trust. I don’t know any employer that trusts their boss. Why should they? The security of their future is in your hands. If you do something wrong, if you close the business or you have a change of heart towards them. You can see the insecurity? In the first moment you met them, they have already established that they cannot trust you. You need to accept that nobody trusts you. Even your secretary. She will be gracious and kind with you. You may have moments when you flirt. You may even end up having a sexual affair with her. Then tomorrow you know she can blackmail you, so what do you have to do? You have to fire her. If you don’t, you could lose your wife, your children and even half of everything you own. Therefore, your leadership is flawed.
The main issue is trust. You need to lose all of their hope, in order for them to trust you. If they have hope, then they will not trust. You need to transform the hope into trust. You are not a politician and you have to show that you are above all office politics. To get the leadership right, be there for your employees. Go out for lunch together. Go for drinks at the pub. Give the image of a normal person. This is what religion has done to God. God is on a pedestal and then your religious scholars eventually make God exactly like one of us. He punishes, he judges, he created evil and the list goes on. You need to get rid of this ‘dictator’ image that is given to you subconsciously by all your employees. Remember, every leader they have known, their headmasters, their parents, their priests, their gurus, and the results have not been pleasing. God is the best dictator – the hypocritical leader of all. At the end of the day, you are considered as a ‘God’ but a terrible version of him. God has some good qualities but you have none. You are human.
How to gain trust is your main interest and this can be done by just getting to know them personally. Show them that you are human and not some super-human. If you act like you are at the top, it will only take a fool to bring you back down. You need to remove their hope completely. Sit down in a meeting and address the issues. Make an event of some sort like bowling, cinema or karaoke once a week. Be open, have a sense of humour and leave office work in the office. Become more human and less of a god.
You don’t need to be loved as a boss, being trusted is a better result. You will enjoy being trusted. Your employees will enjoy their time with you and you may find that they are working a lot harder. There are many of times when employees feel as if their bosses just see them as robots. In fact, some companies are like that. You have a manager, who imposes conditions on their employees even during their break. If anyone is doing that then they simply can fire you without a second thought. Think if you were in your employees shoes and then make every decision regarding them. Think of their benefit in the worst case scenarios. Otherwise, even though he is absolute idiot, I would still prefer David Brent as a boss any day!
Gain their trust by destroying their hope.
Rahul N Singh