istock_000006404981xsmallIn a survey of more than 75,000 workers on four continents, the immediate boss came up tops in the trust category; compared to other senior leaders of organizations. Employees place more trust (75%) in their immediate boss than senior management (60%) were the findings from BlessingWhite, a human resources consultancy this summer. The variance in North America is more pronounced, 75% of employees trust their immediate boss while only 50% see their senior management as trustworthy.

Why the discrepancy? Is it because of the layoffs, the changes in benefit plans, the financial crisis, leadership mismanagement or… it just easier for someone to develop a relationship with someone who is in our immediate circle? Make no mistake, the boss you work with on a daily basis has the front seat for building a trusting relationship. Senior leaders are usually less involved in our day to day activities; our knowledge of why they do what they do is less tangible and subject to possibly more questions.

Trust develops over time, with words and actions supporting intent. Employees don’t expect perfect management, they look for humanness. They value honesty and open dialog. If we change direction, explain why. When we make a decision, share the process and results. If you make a mistake, say so. It seems simple, why is it so hard to do?