Do you trust your boss?

It would seem a third of you don't, according to an exclusive survey for MT and the ILM...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

If ever there was a time that we need to trust our managers and leaders to do the right thing, it’s now, when the stakes are so high. But when 31% of non-managers and 28% of managers say that they have ‘no’ or ‘low’ trust in their management team, it’s evident that there’s an urgent need for trust to be rebuilt between employees and their bosses…

These were among the findings of our exclusive ‘Index of Leadership Trust 2009’ survey, conducted for MT and the Institute of Leadership and Management by FreshMinds. Close to 5,700 of you responded to our questionnaire about how much you trust your line manager and your CEO, and the results reflect the current zeitgeist; it’s a unique snapshot of the state of trust within UK organisations, from SMEs to public sector mega-organisations.

But what does it mean to be trustworthy? According to our survey, it’s the CEOs who not only prove their competence but are principled and honest that are the most trusted. And the longer a CEO has been in the hot-seat, the more highly trusted they are – not such good news for the typical plc, where average CEO tenure is less than five years. CEOs at the helm of the largest organisations have the most to fear: our findings show that trust falls among employees as organisational size increases.

There is some good news for line managers, though. Overall, they are consistently more trusted than CEOs, even though employees expect a more diverse range of qualities and characteristics from them. As well as ability and integrity, line managers are required to demonstrate understanding, fairness and consistency. Again, the longer you have the same line manager, the more you trust them. Face-time still matters.

So who are the UK’s most and least trusted leaders? Overall, private-sector CEOs are more trusted than public-sector bosses. CEOs are the least trusted if they head up media businesses, national or local government departments (no surprise there), and utilities. But the most trusted CEOs work in catering, hospitality, charity and retail. Surprisingly, financial services come off better than might be expected, with line managers rating quite highly for levels of trust. People outside the sector might not trust a banker as far as they could throw them, but their colleagues on the inside have somewhat more faith. Maybe things are looking up.

You can read MT’s full feature - ‘Do You Trust Your Boss’ - online now.

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Do you trust your boss?
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