Latest Study from Leadership IQ Finds Many Employees Don't Trust Their Boss

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Leadership IQ, a well-known provider of leadership training, management research and executive education to the world’s top companies, reveals the results of its latest study, examining trust in the workplace.

Leadership IQ, a prominent provider of leadership training for corporations, reveals the results of its latest study, assessing trust in the workplace. Leadership IQ surveyed 7,209 executives, managers and employees, to assess the overall levels of trust in their organizations.

Only 20% of people strongly trust the top management of their organization. 36% moderately trust their top management, while the remaining 44% range from not trusting to strongly distrusting their top management.

The study further discovered that people were more trusting of their direct boss than top management. 34% of people strongly trust their direct boss. 35% moderately trust their direct boss, while the remaining 31% range from not trusting to strongly distrusting their direct boss.

A big question that leaders may be tempted to ask is “does it really matter if people trust me?”

The Leadership IQ study revealed that an employee’s longevity with a company directly correlates with how much they trust their management. The results of the survey show that trust significantly predicts employee loyalty. Approximately 32% of a worker’s desire to stay or go is the result of feeling or not feeling trust towards their boss.

“Trust is much more than a nice buzzword,” says Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. “The extent to which an employee trusts their direct boss directly relates to their desire to spend their career with a company.”

There is good news, however. The study also identified five aspects of trust that were the best predictors of employee loyalty (listed in order of importance):
1. When sharing a work-related problem, their direct boss responds constructively.
2. The direct boss makes smart decisions.
3. The direct boss is honest and truthful.
4. The direct boss helps employees grow and develop professionally.
5. Employees receive consistent direction from their direct boss.

The results of this study suggest the more a worker trusts his or her direct boss, the more likely he or she will remain with an organization. Additionally, it was discerned that five particular dimensions of trust or creating trust were the best at predicting whether a worker would remain with a company. Having a boss who listens constructively to a worker’s on-the-job problems was found to be the strongest predictor of loyalty to an organization, accounting for fully 26% of their wanting to stay or go. Additionally, the perception that their boss makes good decisions and is honest with them, contributes incrementally an additional 3% and 2%. Perceiving that their boss is helping with professional growth added 1% to their decision.

“The conclusion for companies wanting to leverage the power of trust to increase employee loyalty is to actively work on these five factors,” Mike Murphy says.

Leadership IQ helps managers become the leader that everybody trusts in their 2-day seminar called “What Great Managers Do Differently.” This 2-day program is offered in cities nationwide. Managers who employ techniques identified in Leadership IQ’s research have achieved 348% higher employee satisfaction, 68% higher employee productivity and 70% lower employee turnover.

About Leadership IQ
Leadership IQ provides leadership training, management research and executive education to the world's leading companies and their leaders. Leadership IQ directs one of the largest leadership studies ever conducted, and our work has appeared in Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, the Harvard Management Update, CBS News, ABC’s 20/20, and many more. We’ve trained tens of thousands of leaders from across the Fortune 500, non-for-profit, small-and-midsize companies, and government organizations. Leadership IQ is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Mark Murphy
Leadership IQ
1050 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Direct: 678-654-4536
Main: 800-814-7859


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