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When money corrupts trust

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Q. I’m quite well paid and it’s obvious to everyone at my company. But I’m in charge of motivating a lot of very low-paid employees. I’m not sensing their trust—I think the income disparity is a real problem. What do you recommend?

A. The income disparity might be greater than you even realize; in the eyes of those who are just scraping by, everyone wealthier seems far, far wealthier. The best strategy: Speak and deal honestly with the reality they see every day, not the tired company line. They’re struggling and you’re rich—let them know you know it. Then make clear the ways they can get what you have. If those long-term goals might seem too lofty for some of them, phrase superior job performance as something that doesn’t help you or the company; it helps the struggling co-worker beside them. Let them see themselves as a team of scrappy underdogs, with you on their side as they rise.

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