So Bad, According to New WorldWIT Survey on Workplace Trust
In time for National Boss’s Day, employees
say that most trust their boss however skills in rebuilding
lost trust are lacking
Boston, MA – October 9, 2003 – Do workers trust
their managers? Perhaps the good news for National Boss’s
Day, celebrated on October 16th this year, is that, yes, for
the most part, people trust their managers and believe that
they tell the truth according to a survey conducted by the
authors of the business book The Trusted Leader (www.thetrustedleader.com)
and WorldWIT™ (www.worldwit.org), the world’s
largest online discussion network for women in business and
The authors of The Trusted Leader surveyed employees, including
WorldWIT’s network of professional women in business
and technology, to find out what levels of trust exist in
the workplace today. “I completely or usually trust
my manager” was the response from 42% of those surveyed,
while another 29% had only occasional doubts.
Perhaps the reason for these doubts is explained by one survey
participant, who wrote, “I know that my boss always
tells me the truth, but I sometimes worry about the spin that
might have been put on the truth, and the differences in agendas
that could be behind what he/she shares or doesn't share."
Trust can be a matter of perception.
The areas where bosses tend to fall short are acknowledging
workers’ contributions and apologizing for their own
mistakes. Forty-two percent of the respondents said their
managers rarely or never thanked them for their work or publicly
acknowledged their contributions. Thirty-five percent of the
respondents work for managers who usually or always thank
them. “It’s disappointing that more managers aren’t
thanking their people,” said The Trusted Leader co-author
Robert Galford. “This is one of the easiest ways to
reinforce your employees’ trust and reward them for
their good work.”
More discouraging, however, is what happens when a manager
breaches employee trust. It’s not uncommon to make mistakes
– 64% responded that their managers had made bad decisions
or mistakes that seriously affected employee morale. But a
scant 4% observed that their managers acknowledged the problem,
apologized, and worked to fix it. Forty-six percent blamed
someone else or totally ignored it.
When trust is lost employee morale evaporates, customer loyalty
wanes, and productivity declines as employees work through
their feelings of embarrassment, anger, and uncertainty. If
ignored, broken trust can affect the bottom line. Watson Wyatt’s
2002 People at Work Survey found that companies with highly-committed
employees outperform low-commitment companies by 200 %.
“People want to trust their bosses, but they still
don’t consider them to be very forthcoming when they
make mistakes,” says Galford. “In general, bosses
try to do the right thing, but they need to get a lot better
about ‘fessing up’ when they’ve made errors.
Simply recognizing and acknowledging the loss of trust is
a huge hurdle. Too many managers bury their heads in the sand,
hoping the problems will go away. Managers should recognize
that they might need some help, and that that’s okay.
No one can be perfect at everything. They may need their own
set of trusted advisors to help them navigate resistance and
align their actions. Trusted leaders have to be trusting leaders.”
For more information on this survey or to speak with author
Rob Galford, contact Andrea Harris at (978) 897-1616 (or email
About The Trusted Leader – published
in January 2003 by The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, The
Trusted Leader is a business book for managers who want to
build trust within their organizations. It was co-authored
by Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau. Rob is Managing
Partner of the Center for Executive Development in Boston,
and has taught executive education programs at Columbia, Kellogg
and most recently, Harvard. He is also the co-author of The
Trusted Advisor (with David H. Maister and Charles H. Green).
Anne Seibold Drapeau is Chief People Officer of Boston-based
Digitas and has held management positions at Pepsi, J.P. Morgan,
and FTD. For more information, visit www.thetrustedleader.com.
Founded in Chicago in 1999, WorldWIT (www.worldwit.org) is
the world’s largest online networking organization for
professional women in business and technology, formed for
women to share advice and ideas with other women eager to
“connect.” Its founder, Liz Ryan, was the first
female vice president at U.S. Robotics, and is a popular columnist,
speaker and “at work issues” expert. Today, WorldWIT
includes more than 25,000 members in 60 markets and provides
a forum for women to share career and lifestyle concerns.
The membership is comprised of women who range from corporate
CEOs to home-based consultants and entrepreneurs.
On May 20-23, 2004, WorldWIT is holding a groundbreaking
event for women that focuses on professional and entrepreneurial
development, creativity and wellness. For more information
on Camp WorldWIT: Upward Bound visit www.camp.worldwit.org