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Home » Leadership

Trust in management takes a battering

Submitted by on Wednesday, 3 October 20122 Comments

The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer is out. And for CEOs the findings are not pretty. Trust in their management has taken a battering – in fact causing CEOs and senior management as a group to suffer the biggest declines in Barometer history.

Asked ‘if you heard information about from x person, how credible would you find the information?’ interviewees in 20 countries worldwide ranked information from CEOs as not credible at all with a credibility rating of only 38%. Take a look (click to enlarge):

trust in management


This can only be described as a catastrophe for the highest-paid role in the survey and one that depends on establishing credibility and trust for its effectiveness.

Why does trust matter?

Trust is the essential currency in business. In the words of Warren Buffett, ‘trust is like the air that we breathe. When it’s there, nobody notices. When it’s absent, everybody notices.’

But there’s more to it than that. The 2012 Building Trust Report compiled by Interaction Associates has shown that low levels of trust both inside and outside the organisation correlate to poor organisational performance – both in sales and profit growth terms. So this latest reading from the Edeleman Trust Barometer (you can download the full report here) should make worrying reading for business leaders.

What you can do to build trust and credibility

As the 2012 Building Trust Report shows, strong organisational performance follows good relationships and processes.

So why don’t companies do more to equip their CEOs (and future CEOs) with skills in these areas?

There are two tools companies can use to do this.

The first is the model developed by Patrick Lencioni in Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team – you can check out the model here and the training programme here.

Building trust as you can see is the first prerequisite of a high-performing team in the model, and this is no less true on an organisational level.

The second is the research into leadership undertaken by Kouzes and Posner in their groundbreaking The Leadership Challenge leadership development programme.

Here, the First Practice of an Exemplary Leader is to Model the Way, which includes achieving credibility through trust and establishing shared values.

The solutions are there – companies just have to reach out for them!

If you would like more information on either programme, feel free to contact us using our form here.


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