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Blog - Mistrust of senior managers – what is the answer?

Mistrust of senior managers – what is the answer?

Posted by Tracy Powley 28/09/16

Trust MeThe CMI ‘s The Middle Manager Lifeline report is the latest in a long line of research highlighting a lack of trust in senior managers (all neatly illustrated by Sam Allardyce’s recent antics). It particularly demonstrates the gap between how senior managers think people view them and their actual day to day working relationships.

There are some very good pointers in the article on what senior managers should focus on to rectify the problem and although they are the usual suspects of demonstrating integrity, creating open communication etc .. they are key. But is there another issue at play?

Does this gap between stated values and actual behaviour (which we have also highlighted often) persist because managers don’t think it applies to them? It is so easy to nod in agreement at the statistics while processing it as “someone else’s problem” Many managers simply don’t see the stats mean them.

So what’s the answer?

It’s about raising self-awareness and there are many ways to do this. A very simple test we often do with our clients when diagnosing the issues to be addressed is to go out “on the floor” and talk to teams about their experience of senior managers. Would staff comments match your own perception?

A 360-degree feedback exercise and good quality coaching can also really help managers change their behaviour and start to eradicate that “trust illusion” the report talks about.

Research is useful in highlighting issues, but there is a raft of research saying the same thing.  We need to equip managers to make tangible changes to close the “Say-Do gap”.

For more information on how we can support your managers at every level to develop the right behaviours and build trusting relationships call us on 01903 732782 or email us at

Tracy Powley
Tracy Powley

The way we behave towards each other in the workplace has a direct impact on individual wellbeing, team performance and organisational results. This belief has underpinned our work at Focal Point for over 20 years and has never been more relevant. We are privileged to work with a huge variety of organisations wanting to get workplace behaviour and culture right - and to tackle the inappropriate behaviour that may get in the way of this. Supported by our fantastic team of facilitators and coaches, we are able to make a real difference to peoples’ lives as well as organisational performance. Having worked in both large businesses at management level and in 2 start ups at director level, I am able to combine hands on experience of growing and managing teams - and the associated challenges in creating the right culture - with over 20 years in learning and development. I hold the Certificate in Training Practice and am a member of CIPD. When I am not supporting clients or developing the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...

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