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Press Release

Contact: Andrea Harris
Minerva Solutions

Bosses Aren’t So Bad, According to New WorldWIT Survey on Workplace Trust

In time for National Boss’s Day, employees say that most trust their boss however skills in rebuilding lost trust are lacking

Boston, MA – October 9, 2003 – Do workers trust their managers? Perhaps the good news for National Boss’s Day, celebrated on October 16th this year, is that, yes, for the most part, people trust their managers and believe that they tell the truth according to a survey conducted by the authors of the business book The Trusted Leader ( and WorldWIT™ (, the world’s largest online discussion network for women in business and technology.

The authors of The Trusted Leader surveyed employees, including WorldWIT’s network of professional women in business and technology, to find out what levels of trust exist in the workplace today. “I completely or usually trust my manager” was the response from 42% of those surveyed, while another 29% had only occasional doubts.

Perhaps the reason for these doubts is explained by one survey participant, who wrote, “I know that my boss always tells me the truth, but I sometimes worry about the spin that might have been put on the truth, and the differences in agendas that could be behind what he/she shares or doesn't share." Trust can be a matter of perception.

The areas where bosses tend to fall short are acknowledging workers’ contributions and apologizing for their own mistakes. Forty-two percent of the respondents said their managers rarely or never thanked them for their work or publicly acknowledged their contributions. Thirty-five percent of the respondents work for managers who usually or always thank them. “It’s disappointing that more managers aren’t thanking their people,” said The Trusted Leader co-author Robert Galford. “This is one of the easiest ways to reinforce your employees’ trust and reward them for their good work.”

More discouraging, however, is what happens when a manager breaches employee trust. It’s not uncommon to make mistakes – 64% responded that their managers had made bad decisions or mistakes that seriously affected employee morale. But a scant 4% observed that their managers acknowledged the problem, apologized, and worked to fix it. Forty-six percent blamed someone else or totally ignored it.

When trust is lost employee morale evaporates, customer loyalty wanes, and productivity declines as employees work through their feelings of embarrassment, anger, and uncertainty. If ignored, broken trust can affect the bottom line. Watson Wyatt’s 2002 People at Work Survey found that companies with highly-committed employees outperform low-commitment companies by 200 %.

“People want to trust their bosses, but they still don’t consider them to be very forthcoming when they make mistakes,” says Galford. “In general, bosses try to do the right thing, but they need to get a lot better about ‘fessing up’ when they’ve made errors. Simply recognizing and acknowledging the loss of trust is a huge hurdle. Too many managers bury their heads in the sand, hoping the problems will go away. Managers should recognize that they might need some help, and that that’s okay. No one can be perfect at everything. They may need their own set of trusted advisors to help them navigate resistance and align their actions. Trusted leaders have to be trusting leaders.”

For more information on this survey or to speak with author Rob Galford, contact Andrea Harris at (978) 897-1616 (or email

About The Trusted Leader – published in January 2003 by The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, The Trusted Leader is a business book for managers who want to build trust within their organizations. It was co-authored by Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau. Rob is Managing Partner of the Center for Executive Development in Boston, and has taught executive education programs at Columbia, Kellogg and most recently, Harvard. He is also the co-author of The Trusted Advisor (with David H. Maister and Charles H. Green). Anne Seibold Drapeau is Chief People Officer of Boston-based Digitas and has held management positions at Pepsi, J.P. Morgan, and FTD. For more information, visit

About WorldWIT
Founded in Chicago in 1999, WorldWIT ( is the world’s largest online networking organization for professional women in business and technology, formed for women to share advice and ideas with other women eager to “connect.” Its founder, Liz Ryan, was the first female vice president at U.S. Robotics, and is a popular columnist, speaker and “at work issues” expert. Today, WorldWIT includes more than 25,000 members in 60 markets and provides a forum for women to share career and lifestyle concerns. The membership is comprised of women who range from corporate CEOs to home-based consultants and entrepreneurs.

On May 20-23, 2004, WorldWIT is holding a groundbreaking event for women that focuses on professional and entrepreneurial development, creativity and wellness. For more information on Camp WorldWIT: Upward Bound visit





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