Survey: Bosses Rarely Apologize, Inspire Less Trust

Boston — Nov. 13

Nearly 90 percent of managers say that they either always or often apologize for their mistakes at work. This sentiment, however, is in sharp contrast to the only 19 percent of employees who say their bosses always or often says they’re sorry, according to a survey published by Forum Corp.

The survey of both managers and employees in North America illustrates the inherent connection between how company leaders handle mistakes at work and employee trust and workplace engagement.

Despite the fact that most bosses say they own up to workplace errors, employees do not agree. In fact, 43 percent of employees say that their managers rarely or never apologize, according to the survey.

Moreover, managers who choose to ignore their workplace missteps are afraid of tarnishing their image, as 78 percent of managers say they refrain from asking for forgiveness for fear of appearing incompetent, while 22 percent are afraid of looking weak, the survey said.

According to the survey, the most egregious examples of bad boss behavior include:

• Lying
• Taking credit for others’ ideas or blaming employees unfairly
• Gossiping
• Poor communication
• Lack of clarity

Managers who do not take responsibility for workplace gaffes have a direct correlation to how much employees trust them. While both managers and employees report that trust in the workplace is crucial, trust has eroded in recent years, according to the survey.

About 96 percent of employees say it’s extremely important for employees to have a manager they can trust, and 56 percent of managers say it’s extremely important for employees to trust their managers.

For employees, the workplace has become more treacherous, with 37 percent of employees saying that they trust managers less today. Managers in North America had an even more cynical view than the employees, with 47 percent of managers saying that employees trust their managers less now than in the past.

Overall, only 8 percent of employees said they trust their leaders “to a great extent.”

Source: The Forum Corp.