Managerial mistrust: lack of communication by senior leaders stifling business growth

Written by
Changeboard Team

22 Sep 2016

22 Sep 2016 • by Changeboard Team

Business growth in the UK is being undermined by widespread mistrust of senior managers.

According to a new study published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and leadership events specialist Top Banana, 36% of middle managers fully trust their senior leaders.

Of the 1,456 middle managers surveyed, an overwhelming majority (85%) felt that trust is integral to business performance. 

The report found that fast-growing businesses are four-and-a-half times more likely to report a high degree of trust between levels of management. 

CMI chief executive Anne Francke said: “These findings are a warning that a communication breakdown between leaders, middle managers and employees more widely is undermining growth. 

“Leaders have to recognise the pivotal role played by middle mangers at the heart of their organisations and support them to succeed in the months and years ahead.”

Communication and transparency were revealed to be a key factor in improving trust, as only 37% of respondents felt there senior leadership team was open enough, leading only 31% of middle managers ‘very confident’ in relaying company strategy to their teams.

63% of those surveyed want senior leaders to reveal their thinking on important issues, with just over half (51%) wanting the freedom to raise issues of concern within the organisation. 

Nick Terry, co-founder and managing director of Top Banana said: “There is a clear trust illusion in our organisations. Business leaders may think that it’s there but the reality is, the further away you get from the leader, the more of an issue trust becomes.

“Ultimately, trust is personal and therefore leaders need to create opportunities to communicate with their managers candidly, honestly and with an open heart.”