By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Managers 'struggling to win trust'

Senior managers in large public sectors organisations are failing to win the trust of their employees, a new study has found.

A third of workers claim they have little or no trust in senior managers, according to a survey of 5,600 workers by the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Ability and integrity were listed as the two most important factors for chief executives, while line managers fared best when they showed fairness, integrity and understanding.

“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,” said ILM’s chief executive Penny de Valk. 

Readers' comments (9)

  • Liz Miller

    I don't think we needed a study to tell us that

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • No surprise at all!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • No surprise at all!

    The number of managers I've worked with/for in the last 25 years who were at all trustworthy can be counted on one finger. Their interests have never matched those of clinicians and they have taken every opportunity to do down or belittle clinical staff and their genuine concerns about srvice provision. And the higher up the ladder the worse it gets.

    When you repeatedly see, as I have, senior management getting promotions, jobs in the DoH, etc, on the back of futile, unnecessary organisational change, which benefits nothing and nobody but the CV of the person who pushed it through it is hard to have any trust in them...

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Nothing like old news being proven to be fact?? So here we are again, again and again...... What are we going to do about it?

    I have many suggestions but probably the most sensible is that if you are a senior Manager you really ought to join a sensible Union.
    With senior representation from all of us, surely we can once and for all take this matter seriously.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Derek Mowbray

    Reports coming out this year are confirming the dire situation in the management of public services. This report on trust could well be the worst indicator as trust and commitment lead to engagement which leads to lowering of sickness absence and staff turnover due to stress. Trust results in a vibrant workforce that performs above expectations. The lack of trust costs the taxpayers untold sums and contributes to mistakes, errors, lack of concentration, undermining people's work and a host of other ills. Lack of trust produces poor quality, as the mind is on other things, like watching your back - not exactly what health services should be known for, would you not agree?
    What are we doing about the lack of trust? As mentioned several times the IHM, together with other professional organisations, has been working on a Code for Engagement, a Code for Ethical Leadership and a Code for Effective Management of Healthcare as the basis for improving the behaviours of managers towards staff - and central is the creation and maintenance of trust and commitment.
    Copies of the Codes are available from

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • it is a pity that managers are once again blamed for the inadequacies, not of them, but of the policies made in Whitehall and handed down to managers to implement. We (managers) recognise how unpopular some of our changes are and the effect on staff morale but constant targets and cost saving requirements take their toll and are bound to be demoralising to some staff. Don't forget though that we (managers) are members of staff too.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • The problem here is cultural. The "corporate values" that managers usually ascribe to are not those held by senior clinicians. Therefore whenever managers would like clinicians to make any change to their practice, for the needs of efficiency, productivity, patient experience, service interface - senior clinicians will resist, if it does not strike them as something that "doctors/psychologists/physiotherapists should do.." Most senior professionals cultural allegience is far more to their own profession and the implicit meaning that carries, than to the organisation that emnploys them. They can also dress up unashamed self-interest as "patient safety", whenever service rationalisation is suggested (hence surgeons going on "save our hospital marches") and be believed, because of course it is managers who "just care about bean counting". Senior professional staff are able to run down the management of their organisations publically, but if any senior manager criticises medical staff they just look vindictive. It is not surprising that managers are not trusted if those who do have trust spend all of their time valiantly fighting against them and running them down.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I disagree with the person who says the problem is cultural, clinicians will always have a different point of view than managers. Clinicians see the problems from the perspective of the patient, managers see the problems in terms of hypothetical organisational structures and, of course, they need to be seen to be doing something to make their mark and put it on their CV. Meanwhile managers useless proposals and attempts at undermining how hospitals work most effectively, mean that staff will inevitably be demoralised and services fragmented. As long as managers take the view that their positions are more important than anyone else's, no one will win and hospitals will end up with 12 medical staff, 1 secretary/receptionist and the rest will be managers earning stupid sums of money.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • That is what I mean by "cultural". If you think clinicians really see things from the view of patients; why is it that senior medical staff will rarely draw attention to the serious failings of their colleagues, will go on marches to save services that are sometimes hopelessly ineffective and have anaphlaxis if you design roles, like independant nurse prescribers, which mean that you can provide a better service with fewer doctors.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Share this

Related images

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

Sign up to get the latest health policy news direct to your inbox