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Why Do So Many Employees Distrust Their Managers?

Why Do So Many Employees Distrust Their Managers?


By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University

An article by Kerri Anne Renzulli on CNBC’s Make It website examines a Gallup poll that found 50 percent of employees quit their jobs because of their relationship with their manager. Training for leadership development has attempted to reduce this negative dynamic, but the distrust still persists.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

Unfortunately, a new study only adds fuel to the fire. There was a time when employees were concerned about robots taking their jobs. However, a recent study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace suggests that 64 percent of those surveyed now say they would trust a robot more than their manager. The participants also believe that new technologies (i.e. artificial intelligence) in the workplace will streamline their workday as well as free up time to learn new skills.

Is this a bad thing? I don’t think it is.

New Technology Can Free Employees from Their Mundane Daily Tasks

New technology can free employees from the mundane daily tasks that still need to be completed. As a result, employees would have time to work on strategic issues involving initiatives to move the company forward. Workers in the trenches could assist the leadership in developing innovative platforms. Companies would have the opportunity to work as a “big” team and put in place some new organizational design structures.

Companies Could Create Supervisory and Process Managers

What about managers?

I believe we have committed a disservice to our rising stars by creating career ladders that pigeonhole an individual into going into a supervisory role overseeing employees. They may be good at their job, but that does not necessarily equate to being good leaders coaching teams.

With the increased use of technology in the workplace, could we finally create that dual path and make a process manager equivalent to a manager responsible for supervising employees? Both positions have a purpose; therefore, the salary ranges could be the same. Supervisory responsibilities should not be a major factor in line managers earning more than staff/process managers.

Employees want to be empowered and challenged. Managers should serve as coaches only when employees need guidance.

Let’s try something different in 2020!

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.



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