I have found many articles about "building trust" and articles about "communicating a decision you disagree with", but nothing that combines the two. How do front line and middle management build trust with staff in the face of unpopular decisions, or decisions with unavailable rationale, over which they have no authority, or further insight?
The communication articles emphatically assert to not lay blame so as to not undermine those who have made a particular decision. This is understandable. Then they suggest dialogue ranging from venting-without-debate to asking for feedback. However, if staff concerns are rarely, if ever, acted on, then why should they care or participate in such exercises?
The articles assume that you have some control over outcomes. Yet, in this scenario, the decision is already made and will not change.
How could you treat differently decisions where you don't have all the information versus others that are plainly inconsistent, unfair or the communication was absent/mishandled (assuming that in the former there is a sound reason for lack of rationale)?
The work environment is not nearly as bad as I allude to, and productivity does not seem to be an issue as staff are invested in their work. However, mistrust between staff and certain management persists, and we would like to address this.