Trust In Managers Is At A Worldwide Low

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Trust takes time and effort to build and can be lost in a moment.

Managers are their own worst enemies when it comes to trust as they fail to follow through on commitments, don’t set standards and run a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do shop.

Across the globe, trust in managers is at a low point, according the Leadership Pulse Survey of 954 people published by the Forum Corporation.

Up to 30 per cent of employees have little or no trust in the leaders of their company.

There are, however, regional differences. Managers in Australia and New Zealand generally rate better than their American counterparts and about the same as those in Asia.

“The number of employees in Australasia who reported that they had little to no trust in their leaders was approximately 10 per cent lower than their counterparts in the Americas,” says Cynthia Stuckey, Managing Director, Forum Asia Pacific

One sticking point is a willingness to admit mistakes. Managers tend to encourage staff to do this but don’t demonstrate the same behaviour themselves, or so say the employees.

Only 18.6 per cent of employees say their leaders often or always acknowledge mistakes, a sharp contrast to 78 per cent of leaders who believe they often or always do so.

In addition, 45.4 per cent of employees say they never or rarely see their leaders apologise, while 98.5 per cent of leaders claim they do say sorry.

“Asking employees to learn from their mistakes but not being willing to openly admit mistakes themselves can affect employee morale and breed distrust towards the company’s leadership,” says Stuckey.

How to erode trust:

  • Be inconsistent: Talking ‘team’ but leading in hierarchical style
  • Lying/Lacking consistency: Telling two people they are being developed for the one position
  • Leadership skills: not following through with commitments
  • Taking credit/passing blame: Taking praise for the work of others and passing on blame
  • Talking behind employees’ backs: Bad-mouthing another team member
  • Walking the talk: Asking the team to do something the manager won’t do or doesn’t do.
  • Communication: Not listening.

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