4 Sure Ways to Tell if Your Boss is Trustworthy

— September 16, 2019

Trust needs to exist at the core of every professional relationship.


Because if you think about it, a tightly interlinked chain of events needs to occur in any organization in order to attain results. To maintain this chain, people need to trust each other in the workplace – and most importantly, they need to trust their leader.

Working for a boss you trust is imperative not only for getting things done, but for your own health, happiness and work success as well.

But trust and loyalty do not come easy in the business world. Gallup’s global database informs that just one in three employees trust the leadership of their organization.

Although most bosses perceive themselves as trusting as well as trustworthy, their employees may disagree. Gallup reports that while 80% of managers believed they are transparent with their employees, only 55% of employees concurred with that statement.

The business world of today is clearly experiencing a fundamental shift in the way employees view their managers.

These numbers signal a wake-up call for managers to actively invest in nurturing their workplace relationships with their employees. As leaders, it is our responsibility to establish a basis of trust in order to drive employee – and organizational – success.

Employees are willing to go the extra mile for a boss they can trust. But there remains a wide gulf when it comes to employees’ confidence in their employers.

Then again, it is good to be sceptical.

After all, every boss must earn respect and trust from those who follow them. But then again, does every boss deserve it?

Everyone deserves to work with a trustworthy boss, but in the process of developing a foundation of trust with your leader, you should be able to identify characteristics and actions of a truly trustworthy boss.

Likewise, you must also look out for certain red flags that indicate your boss may not be trustworthy.

Let’s go over some of the signs that your boss wholeheartedly deserves the trust of their team:

1. Your Boss Can Admit Their Mistakes

When someone assumes a leadership position, a heightened sense of responsibility comes with the seat. Leadership means being held in a higher regard, which can contribute to a false perception of oneself as well as others. Resultantly, leaders often feel the need to always get things right.

Different leaders have their own unique ways of acknowledging they are wrong – if they do. Moreover, it is not the mistakes that leaders make, but the way they acknowledge them and deal with them that defines their character and wins them their employees’ trust.

Bosses who readily own up to their mistakes exhibit humility and dependability. It is these values that inspire trust in their followers.

Is your boss willing to admit their mistakes and accept responsibility? Or do they make excuses, pretend it never happened, or point fingers?

2. Your Boss Genuinely Cares About You

Trustworthy leaders have their employees’ best interests at heart, because they sincerely care about their people. Such leaders take a personal interest in the lives of their employees by making a conscious effort to get to know about their lives outside of work, their personal goals and their aspirations.

Regardless of whether you have been with the company for 2 weeks or 2 years, a boss who cares will consciously attempt to include you in the team – and be able to identify who may be feeling excluded.

Could your boss describe 3-5 things about your personal life, or would you be lucky if the boss remembered your name?

3. Your Boss Walks the Talk

Once upon a time, the old adage “Do as I say, not as I do,” was a concept that was applied by stern bosses as a leadership style. But these days, leadership by demand is no longer an effective method.

Modern millennial employees want to see their leader in action, leading by example – as they should.

If your boss’s actions don’t match the things they say (either in conversation or through the formation or enforcement of organizational policies), then they are not trustworthy; in fact, this is a sign of a toxic and problematic boss.

A sure-fire sign of a trustworthy and great boss is that they will always act in ways consistent with written policies. An untrustworthy boss, on the other hand, will weaken their professional commitment by choosing not to apply company policies on themselves.

4. Your Boss Doesn’t Play the Blame Game

Does your boss look for someone to blame as soon as something goes wrong? This is an important indicator that they are not worthy of your trust.

Many bosses are unable to handle the stress of being accountable for their team/department/company. If there are any mistakes made or issues caused, their first reaction would be to find a scapegoat.

This is because in such times, they need somebody to yell at and write up, simply in order to get rid of their own stress regarding the mishap.

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Author: Paul Keijzer

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