New research published today reveals that employees in
the Third Sector have among the highest levels of trust
in their senior management teams.
Research by the Institute of Leadership & Management
(ILM) and Management Today shows that charity sector CEOs
are among the most trusted, achieving an Index score of
63 [against an average CEO Index score of 59 and the overall
scale of 0-100], when assessed by the general population
of employees, which rises to an impressive 72 when assessed
by managers in the sector.
Line managers in Third Sector organisations are also considered
highly trustworthy, with an index score of 72.
The research revealed that length of tenure is a vital
component of trust. The longer CEOs and line managers have
been in post the more trust employees have in them.
Trust takes time to earn, and the research indicates that
this is unlikely to be achieved in less than five years.
This is clearly demonstrated in the Third Sector, where
length of service for CEOs is generally longer than average.
37% of charity and voluntary sector employees said that
their CEO had been in post for more than five years, compared
with only 23% in national/local government and 24% in the
While CEOs of large organisations amassed a low Trust Index
score, managers of smaller organisations – as observed
in the Third Sector – engender the highest levels
of trust in their staff. 61% of charity and voluntary employees
surveyed came from companies with staff of 250 people or
The high levels of trust in the Third Sector may also be
down to gender balance. 70% of the respondents in the charity
sector were women.
The main survey found that women have higher levels of
trust in their managers than men when they start a job,
but this falls sharply the longer they stay in the same
position, raising serious questions about the quality of
women’s experience in the workplace.
The high levels of trust among women in the third sector
seems to be the direct result of senior management remaining
The Index identifies and measures the six factors that
are fundamental to trust – ability, understanding,
fairness, openness, integrity and consistency – identifying
a clear roadmap for individuals to build trust in themselves
and their organisations.
The research reveals that the two most important factors
for CEOs are ability and integrity. In contrast, though
line managers are more trusted, employees expect a more
diverse range of qualities and characteristics from them.
As well as ability (top of the list) and integrity, line
managers are required to demonstrate understanding, fairness
ILM's Chief Executive, Penny de Valk, said: “Trust
is crucial to the performance of an organisation, and a
cornerstone of good leadership. Teams are more effective
in a trusting environment, and people work better and harder
if they trust their leaders.
“But for leaders, being good at their job is simply
not enough anymore. They have to be aware of their ‘signal
value’ and how this is perceived by employees as a
sign of integrity. The more senior you are, the more the
gap between what you say and what you do – or what
you don’t say or do – is amplified. In recessionary
times, employees are anxious and this spotlight will be
yet further intensified.”
The ILM and Management Today polled 5,673 people –
2,938 managers and 2,735 non-managers – for the Index
of leadership Trust.
They came from the private, public and charity sectors,
and their organisations ranged in size from SMEs to global
The survey asked how much they trusted their line managers
and their CEOs, presenting a snapshot of trust from within
an organisation. In total 213 charity and voluntary sector
employees responded to the survey.
The full report, ILM/MT Index of Leadership Trust 2009,
is available to download from ILM’s website: www.i-l-m.com.