Trust and openness key for employees

Employees believe trustworthiness and openness are the most important characteristics of a good manager, according to a new survey.


Leadership Management Australasia enlisted Chase Research to conduct a survey of 3,000 employees across Australia and New Zealand, asking them to identify the top 10 characteristics a good manager must possess in order to positively influence their performance at work.


Trustworthiness and openness soared from seventh spot in 2009 to the top of the list in 2010, suggesting managers are facing new challenges in fulfilling the needs and expectations of their employees.


Grant Sexton, LMA managing director, says if organisations want to improve the performance and productivity of their business, they must foster trust and embrace openness in their workplace.


“Also, this means managers need to demonstrate to employees that they are willing to listen to employees and their input in order to earn their trust,” Sexton says.


The second most important managerial approach was allowing staff sufficient space to do their work but supporting them simultaneously, up from fifth spot to second spot.


Coming in third was providing the resources employees need to do their job, advancing from the 11th to the seventh spot.


According to Sexton, the increased value placed on trustworthiness and openness is a direct result of the economy’s recovery in the post-GFC climate.


“Employees, frustrated with the extended period of lack of appreciation in their efforts and sacrifices to support their company through the difficulties of the GFC, are expecting managers to step up with a truthful and honest approach to what the future holds,” he says.


Martin Nally, founder of hranywhere, says start-ups have an opportunity to attract employees who were disgruntled by their employers’ behaviour during the GFC.


“However, they must act ethically and openly otherwise they’ll suffer the same fate [and lose employees,” Nally says.


He says start-ups are also well placed to foster trust and openness because there is “less room for corporate games”.


“There is a greater line of sight between what the organisation is trying to achieve and what is being achieved – there are no layers,” he says.


“Having said that, small businesses cannot use their size as an excuse for failing to deliver resources because their staff will see straight through it.”


Vicki Crowe of Cannon Recruitment says small start-ups need to familiarise themselves with their staff from the outset.


“You can’t manage someone unless you understand them so find out what they value and what’s important to them in a work sense,” she says.


“Keep on innovating and challenging people because if they’re not challenged, they won’t stay.”


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