I Want a Leader that I can trust, one that has my back and one that I can talk to

March, 2018

Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer tells a worrying report about the level of trust that people place in businesses to do the right thing and what is most concerning is that the data shows that the level of trust is decreasing…  

No doubt about it that we can all recall situations whereby our trust in those around us has yielded great results, yet these great results are likely to be on the decline. Richard Sexton Partner, PwC UK Vice Chairman, Global Assurance says that;

Without trust business life becomes much more difficult. Trust failures can impact growth, share price, the cost of capital and liquidity, for instance. It can affect morale, innovation and behaviour, which are more difficult to measure but perhaps more damaging in the long term. Trust is a very powerful asset”.


And more interesting, data from the World Economic Forum identified that 58% of 18 to 35 year olds were frustrated by the abuse of power and corruption of both Governments and Businesses. If you looked around your place of work, it’s quite concerning to know that around 50% of the people you know in this age range are likely to have doubts as to whether they can trust their organisation’s leader. Furthermore, research by Edelman’s also identified that only 37% of a surveyed group trusted their CEO. Quite an issue! One that is further exacerbated by the 3 Execs at Equifax sold the best part of $1.8M of shares prior to informing the world of a data breach. However, it should be noted that Equifax have stated that the 3 Exec’s concerned were not aware of the data breach. It’s so true when they say that “timing is everything in business!” Cough, cough.

So what can be done?

Interestingly the decline in trust is more slightly apparent in western society as the data below shows;

Which begs the question, what is so different in the way in which other countries operate? If we look at 4 of the top countries; Singapore, China, UAE and consider the volume of activity on social media, the data is quite interesting;

UAE 99%

Singapore 77%

China 57%

India 14%

Global average 37%


(Based on data from the Digital in 2017 Global overview.)

India is the interesting element and what is different here is the PM, Narendra Modi. In short Modi rose came from the humble beginnings of a tea boy to become the Prime Minister of India, pretty good going! As with any political leader, some like him, others less so but what does appear to be pretty consistent is Modi’s ability to engage and inspire people.

So what does social media and Modi have to do with tackling the trust issues?

What does social media give us? Social Media helps people to connect from all over the world and stay connected, it helps to share information and above all, it helps to drive accountability. The Hawthorne Effect tells us that people behave differently when they are observed, and to our view social media forms part of 21st century observation.

What does this mean in the workplace?

It means we need to share information, and not just the good news, also the issues, the things that we maybe reluctant to share with our employees and employers, either because we are concerned about the response(s) or because we are not sure of the best way to share the information. Just because some information is harder to figure how best to share, it doesn’t mean we don’t share it at all.

One thing that effective leaders and managers say is that they also let everyone know what their plans are and they share this openly and they say to do this for two reasons; 1). So everyone who is part of the business can be involved in the journey and reaching the goal, and 2). So their people can hold them to account for doing as they set out too do. Leaders often say they don’t have all of the answers to deliver their plan and often approach their team for ideas and support. And what do you know, before long you build solid trusting relationships because a leader is not just sharing their plan with you, s/he is working with you to deliver it.

Personally at LBL Skills we want a leader that is open to having honest conversations about the quality of the relationship we have formed together. A leader that can be objective in their views about the decisions I make, and for their objective view to be formed from actually taking the time to understand how I have reached a decision. We want to understand how our leaders reach their decisions and for them to be receptive to me inquiring about these.

Being able to have real conversations with a Leader about the decisions they make, how we are working together and how we can work together to tackle any issues that come about is a fundamental building block to hitting the highest levels of performance within the teams that are the foundation for your business. This shapes a core aspect of our view on what great leadership is about and feeds into everything that we as a business do!

More educational blogs on Leadership & Management will be with you over the coming months! Keep a look out on our homepage for our latest or visit LBL Skills Blog Archive for all of our blogs. For more informative Leadership and Management Blogs from our associate Richard Egan, please visit Rich Learning Solutions Blogs Archive.

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