Do you totally trust your boss?


Early on in my career I had an extremely demanding boss who stipulated our small team needed monthly performance appraisals. When the time came for what should have been my annual appraisal, I asked for a pay rise at the end of our monthly review and my boss said yes.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, I opened my paycheck and my salary was exactly the same as before. I asked my boss about it and he said, “I don’t remember ever giving you a pay rise. Do you have that in writing?”

I was stunned. But in truth, it cemented two facts that I already knew. Number one, my boss couldn’t be trusted. Number two, after putting in a year now was the time to move on to something better.

Earlier this summer, EY unveiled the findings from Global Generations 3.0: a global study on trust in the workplace. Their research found less than half of full-time workers, just 46%, place a great deal of trust in their employers.

In contrast, 15% of respondents had very little or no trust in their current employer. The top factors contributing to this lack of trust are tied to compensation; lack of strong leadership; too much employee turnover and the lack of a collaborative work environment.

The EY research found the following factors were very important when it comes to trusting your boss:

  • Treats me with respect.
  • Meets commitments.
  • Communications openly.
  • Behaves ethically.
  • Values my opinion and provides recognition and praise for a job well done.

If your boss ticks all the boxes above you’ve struck gold. It’s amazing to work for a boss with attributes that influence a high level of trust.

If you’re stuck with a boss who doesn’t deliver in these areas it can be really tough. However, don’t fall into the trap of following a bad example. Working for a bad boss can actually be a super valuable learning opportunity, in that you learn exactly what you shouldn’t do as a leader.

Learning what you shouldn’t do in the workplace can be just as important as figuring out how to be an effective leader. Even if you don’t manage a team yet, treat your coworkers with respect. All of them, not just your work friends. Meet your commitments, show up on time, get your work done ahead of deadlines, go the extra mile. Strive to be a good communicator. Do the right thing, don’t bend the rules. Listen and learn from others and remember to give praise when others knock it out of the park.

If you can do that, you’ll go a long way to earning the trust of those around you. Even if you have to put up with a bad boss, you can make a real difference to those around you by leading by example.

For more information on EY research visit

Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema

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