Are you afraid of the voters?

Politics is in turmoil. Some really divisive issues and equally divisive politicians are making headlines around the world.

Much of the recent press coverage refers to a lack of trust, while some politicians are telling us they don’t trust journalists. Fake news, anyone?

This lack of trust leads to politicians avoiding disclosure, fearing censure from voters. They get caught hiding things, so voters trust them even less. The voters think politicians have their own agenda and undisclosed motives; the politicians think voters and the media are out to ‘get them’.

This destroys any chance of cross-party cooperation. Anyone who crosses the line will be branded as a traitor, no matter how important the matter may be. Major issues such as healthcare or gun law in the US and, of course, Brexit in the UK are all topics where politicians of different parties hold similar views but can’t or won’t cooperate with one another.

This same theme of trust – or the lack of it – can be seen in businesses, everywhere.

Many businesses suffer from the ‘silo syndrome’, where functions and departments don’t cooperate but follow their own agendas. That can lead to conflicting messages being delivered to customers and suppliers!

Equally common is the division between ‘them’ and ‘us’, with management on one side of the fence and the workforce on the other.

Symptoms of a ‘them and us’ culture operating become apparent when there is a workforce that seems disengaged, a lack of innovation in the business, and often a clock-watching culture in place.

The good news is that, with a little bit of bravery being shown by the leaders of the business, these challenges can be dealt with.

The starting point is communication. If you, as leader, explain your decisions and, even better, share your objectives for the business with the workforce, you can remove the barrier. It won’t come down all at once, and it will take continuous effort to keep it down. But, if you communicate and do these things, you’ll get a workforce that’s engaged and can take your business to another level.

Don’t be afraid of the voters.

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