There is a key issue that organizations must tackle in order to retain female employees: trust. Evidence shows that women are more sensitive to and more aware of – both trust and distrust. In order to retain female talent, leaders must build trust between themselves and their employees, and there are specific behaviours and strategies that can help them do that.
Research in the Center for Creative Leadership’s World Leadership Study found that overall, women are less trusting of their bosses than men are – and of their co-workers as well. This distrust is specific to the workplace though; with the study finding that women remain more trusting of people in general and in other parts of their life.
Some of the reasons for this distrust are as follows:
Building trust should be a top priority for managers for the following reasons:
It is, of course, not a given that anyone will stay with an organization in the long-term, but building trust is one strategy that can be used to increase retention. This strategy might be especially effective, this Idea suggests, with females. Trust is earned slowly though, and destroyed quickly. Managers must be aware of this fact and be careful not to resort to reducing resources in response to the recession in a way that does not seem fair to women in particular, either because the process wasn’t equitable or because the resulting distribution of resources (or loss of resources) wasn’t equitable.
Specific leadership behaviours that improve trust are:
Building Trust in the Workplace: A Key to Retaining Women. Sarah Stawiski, Jennifer J. Deal & Marian Ruderman. CCL® QuickView Leadership Series (April 2010).
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