Trust between management
and workers has declined at three out of four workplaces over the past two years,
according to a survey

by Manchester Consulting, a Pennsylvania company that offers        coaching in "trust-based leadership."

Three-quarters of executives at 215 companies who responded to the
firm's survey said trust had declined, while only 15 percent said trust
had improved.

"Trust in corporate America is at a low point," said Manchester Senior V.P. Lew Stern. "Employees feel they have had little input into major changes that have affected them, and they believe they can no longer look to their employers for job security. Senior managers must go out  of their way to interact, understand, and serve as examples by what  they say and do."

Other interesting findings:

  • Male executives rated the level of trust at their work places
     higher than female executives did for their companies.
  • Organizations that "downsized" during the past two years
     received the lowest trust rating, while those that merged with                   
     another business also scored below the average.
  • It takes an average of seven months for the executives in the
     survey to build their trust in a leader, but less than half that
     time - about three months - for them to lose trust in one.
  • The level of trust was best between front-line employees and
     their immediate supervisors. The level of trust was worst
     between front-line employees and top-level executives.
  • The manufacturing industry received the highest trust rating,
     while the telecommunications industry received the lowest
     trust rating.

The five best ways for leaders to build trust are to maintain integrity, openly communicate their vision and values, show respect for              employees as equal \ partners, focus on shared goals more than
Personal agendas, and do the right thing regardless of personal risk.

The five quickest ways to lose trust are to act inconsistently in what they say and do, seek personal gain above shared gain, withhold information, lie or tell half-truths, and be close-minded.

"What many business leaders today don't realize is that trust can make the difference between retaining employees and customers - and losing them to the competition," says Stern. "A high level of workplace trust can have a significant impact on the bottom line, as well as on the    people a business must rely on to get the job done."

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