The future success of managers and leaders centre on their ability to develop and sustain the levels of trust in an organisation and its leadership. To ensure trust levels are maintained there needs to be transparency, openness and honesty in every respect. Managers have a responsibility to make sure a code of ethics exists and more importantly that they adhere to this specific code in all of their dealing with their staff and customers. Managers must ensure the ethical conduct of those who represent their company and at the same time those with whom they do business.
When honesty and transparency are lacking there can be no trust and when trust levels break down there will be no loyalty. It is impossible to cultivate a climate of trust in the absence of ethics, honesty and transparency. Consequently fairness, accountability and responsibility cannot and will not exist.
Is a dishonest director, manager or leader a trustworthy or responsible person?
Consider the relationship between managers and staff if employees believe they cannot trust the manager or each other? The trust relationship breaks down and employees will start to be dishonest. Sick leave will increase, as employees will not be motivated to come to work. Dedicated and enthusiastic workers will feel they no longer want to be committed and will start to waste time and work less productively.
We have of late seen so many examples and open demonstration of dishonesty in business. I would go so far as to say honesty and truthfulness is declining at a rate that will be very hard to surpass in the future. Business and government throughout the world are rotten to the core. Government on the African continent is rotten to the core and we and we in South Africa are subject to dishonesty on a daily basis.
The decline in employee trust levels and employee confidence in senior management in both the private and public sector is at an all time low. In a recent survey conducted by A Maritz Research it was found only 11% of managers backed up their word with action and only 7% trusted their managers. 20% have no faith in their leadership and do not feel their leaders can be trusted or that they are honest and ethical.
We live in a “low trust society”. To survive and succeed managers and leaders must first address issues around trust and honesty. Management from the top down must be seen to be trustworthy, honest and ethical.
In South Africa there is a need to win the trust of employees but in addition our politicians need to urgently win the TRUST of both the local and international community. Trust levels are being eroded due to lack of honesty and the ongoing dishonesty of some of our leaders. This can only be accomplished through dedicated and committed leadership. Our leaders in the public and private sector and our leaders in government must possess and demonstrate the following traits
Transparent – totally open, going beyond current requirements or expectations
Responsible – clearly acting in the broader and longer term interests of all
Uncompromising – total commitment to highest moral and ethical standards
Successful – great results combining excellence in all areas with strong values
Temperate – taking care to avoid major risks, wild decisions and extravagance
Des Squire (Managing Member) AMSI & ASSOCIATES cc