Failure to understand employees creates culture of mistrust

CEOs failure to understand employees creating a culture of mistrustEmployees trust their CEOs less than they did seven years ago, although trust in line managers remains the same, new research claims. It also suggests that one of the reasons for mistrust is that CEOs seem unable to understand the role of their employees and the contributions they make to working culture. According to Trust in Leaders, by The Institute of Leadership & Management, workers trust their CEOs considerably less than they did in 2011, as compared to then, the results show trust in CEOs has fallen by 8 percent.

At a time when gender equality regularly hits the headlines and there is apparently insufficient diversity in FTSE boardrooms, more respondents said they trusted female leaders and female line managers than their male counterparts.  However, both male and female leaders perform poorly in accessibility, openness, consistency and understanding the roles of their staff.

However, the financial services sector should be buoyed by the results; of all the sectors researched, financial services leaders are considered the most trusted, followed closely by those in the health sector. By comparison, the least trusted CEOs work in local and national government, closely followed by engineering/manufacturing and education.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The more someone trusts a colleague the greater the likelihood that they will collaborate, share information and work effectively together[/perfectpullquote]

Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “With a decline in trust being a recurring theme reported in the media – against the backdrop of organisations going into administration and falling rates of productivity – CEOs are so much more high profile than they used to be. Headlines about high levels of CEO remuneration, putting their own interests over those of the company and, most importantly, their employees, haven’t helped the situation, so it’s not surprising levels of trust have fallen over the last few years.

“The more someone trusts a colleague, manager or team member, the greater the likelihood that they will collaborate, share information and work effectively together. Trust helps organisations to run smoothly, increases engagement, improves processes, drives individual and team performance, ultimately benefitting the customer or service user. The more CEOs are trusted, the more likely employees are to believe in their ability to navigate the organisation through difficult times of economic uncertainty, such as those we are experiencing with Brexit.”

The Institute of Leadership & Management claims it has carried out research into business culture and trust since 2009 to see how employees perceive the trustworthiness of organisations and their bosses. Using an overall trust score out of 100 across seven dimensions of trust (ability, understanding, fairness, accessibility, openness, integrity and consistency), The Institute surveyed more than 800 leaders and managers to assess whether the levels of trust had changed since the last research was carried out in 2011.

The Institute is currently working with the University of Birmingham exploring the sort of leadership development interventions that are needed in the public services to ensure a pipeline of leaders who are ready to face a challenging future.

Visit to download a copy of the report for free while you can. After June 11 we understand they intend to charge you for it.