Employees losing trust in leaders

‘Trust’ has been a popular word during the recession. Business’ trust in politicians has gone down – something to do with moats and duck houses, we’ve heard – while the public’s trust in banks has also plummeted – they do seem ever so fond of paying themselves bonuses equivalent to the GDP of small African countries.

Heck, if Smarta wasn’t as emotionally robust as it likes to think it is, it would be covering under a desk with a tinfoil hat on by now, waiting for the sky to come crashing down. It seems our general attitude at the moment is to trust no one.

It seems one of Smarta’s favourite business publications, Management Today, has also come to that conclusion. It has taken it upon itself to look at trust of another sort: that of employees for their leaders and, depressingly, it appears employees’ trust reflects the climate:  under a third of employees have ‘low or no’ trust in their management team.

The public sector came out lower than the private sector – perhaps because public sector organisations tend to be larger and it’s more difficult to form a relationship with the management in a large organisation –but if the chief executive had been in place for longer, trust went up.

The survey broke employees down into categories, which made some fairly appalling revelations. If you thought the glass ceiling had all but evaporated, think again: male non-managers trust their chief executives less if she is a woman, according to the report – but, confusingly, if she’s their line manager, they trust her more than if it’s a man? Does this mean they’d rather a mother-figure than a woman in charge?

In any event, communication is the key: keep your employees abreast of what’s going on in your business, and trust shouldn’t be an issue.

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