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49 Percent

Only 49 percent of U.S. workers have trust and confidence in the senior managers of their organizations. So indicates a survey conducted recently by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The global consulting firm assessed the attitudes of more than 12,000 employees, working at various job levels and in all major industries, as part of its WorkUSA 2006/2007 survey. If learning that less than half of all employees trust their leaders does not alarm you, consider this: the trust level is down from 51 percent in 2004, the last time Watson Wyatt took its poll.

"This dip in ratings is concerning because employees' attitudes about their senior leaders are a key factor in building engagement," according to Watson Wyatt's Ilene Gochman. "People want to work for companies where they have confidence in the organization and trust what senior management is doing."

Diminishing trust levels should come as no surprise to business leaders, considering the many highly publicized corporate scandals of recent years. But many leaders are shocked to learn that trust and employee loyalty are interdependent, and that when employees mistrust their leaders, they are more likely to leave.

More than ever, employees are searching for leaders with integrity who prove their continuously. Recognizing that is the key to increasing the level of trust your employees will have in you.

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Employees come to work with an implicit trust that their managers are always working for the best interest of the company and its employees. That trust should not and cannot ever be taken for granted. Look what is happening today. It is no longer "What's good for the company is good for the manager." It has become "What's good for the manager is good for the company." Top executives have totally lost sight of this phenomenon and are allowing managers to run amok for their own personal agendas.
Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. Employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is the result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. Better corporate level leadership is the key. Read more in "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic."

Jerome Alexander

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