One of the business issues gaining in importance is the trust – or lack of trust – that we have in our large corporations. With all the CEO scandals, bankruptcies, bailouts and just plain bad behavior of some business leaders, trust is at a low. In the research that I’ve done for my new book, The Leadership Contract, only 7% of employees trust their senior leaders.
Forbes recently conducted a survey with the help of GMT Ratings to identify the most transparent and trustworthy businesses that trade on the American exchanges. The research looked at the quality of corporate accounting and management practices. These are critical components of a trustworthy organization. The good news emerging from the survey is that despite the low trust in America’s largest public companies, there are many that are models of openness and integrity. These companies excelled at consistently demonstrating transparent and conservative accounting practices. They also have solid corporate governance and management. They also don’t play around with the numbers, nor have excessive executive compensation plans.
But to me, trustworthiness goes beyond transparent accounting practices. It’s also about the trustworthiness displayed by leaders day-to-day.
Take a moment and consider the following questions:
Are you seen as a trustworthy leader by your direct reports and colleagues?
Are you a leader that others can place their trust in you?
Do others believe that you will not betray their trust?
Are you a leader that is constantly earning your own level of trustworthiness?
To me, these are some of the most fundamental questions that every leader today must address in their own personal leadership.