Much has been written about the loss of trust in management. These discussion almost always deal with the loss of ‘trust from below’ – i.e. trust by employees or subordinates of senior management.
What they don’t deal with is the loss of ‘trust from above’ – i.e. the loss of trust by the board and shareholders in management.
Causes for this include management:
- Setting expectations and failing to deliver.
- Saying things that are later demonstrated to be false.
- Withholding part of the ‘truth’.
- Only putting one side of the argument for an initiative proposed by management.
- Pursing initiatives that only management will personally benefit from (i.e. establishing KPIs when those KPIs are the basis of management’s remuneration.)
- Pursing personal gain ahead of corporate gain.
- Sabotaging initiatives that benefit shareholders ahead of management (e.g. golden parachutes, etc.).
- Promoting colleagues beyond their competency.
- Allowing risks and problems to remain unresolved beyond necessity.
- Hiding issues that later embarass or compromise the board.
- Hiding issues that later negatively impact company reputation or worth.
- Hiding issues that later increase risk or cost.
It is often the case that on some issues the ‘trust from below’ is incompatible with ‘trust from above’ and they conflict. Corporate and cultural tension is often caused when these two pressures are made public and both board and management are perceived as breaching faith (internal and external).
A difficult position to recover from.
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