Insight article

The thorny issue of trust (and what a good CEO)

Apologies.  It’s been a dry old month on the blog front, I know, but the new term is starting and we’re raring to go.  And what better subject to start with than the old chestnut of trust in organisations.  I’ve written about this before, but it deserves another mention as a timely report has emerged from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) that shows that a third of our workers don’t trust their bosses, and labelling CEO’s as those who are trusted least.  Not surprisingly (and it’s not new news), line managers came off better in the trust stakes.

I heard the MD of KFC talking about this issue the other day.  His view was that CEO’s should understand what people’s jobs actually entail in order to know what to do.  Hmmm. Interesting.  I’d like to see CEO’s of large organisations fit that kind of ‘back to the shop floor’ exercise with every single job function in the organisation into his or her busy schedule.  He did, however, cite that CEO’s have two dimensions of trust:  personal integrity and an ability to do the job.  I agree with that.  Being visible, making as much contact as possible, and practising what you preach are probably the most important characteristics of a good CEO.

OK, so I’m moving away from the issue of trust and onto what makes a good CEO.  I have often referred back to an article from The Times written by Carol Lewis just under a year ago.  In summary, the top ten tips for becoming an effective CEO are:

1.    Want to be in that role (it’s lonely , unsociable, and hard work at the top of the tree)

2.   Put yourself about (prove yourself in a variety of roles and situations)

3    Hone your emotional intelligence (be good at reading situations and people.  Understand ideas quickly and then engage people)

4    Learn to communicate (from shareholders to workers on the shop floor)

5.   See the bigger picture (strategic ability…think ahead, think broadly about opportunities, challenges and issues)

6.   Find a mentor (be prepared to be coached)

7.   Network regularly (have a broad horizon, understand how your business is seen and what the business trends are that will affect your business.  Pick it up and bring it back to the business).

8.   Stop dithering (be decisive, make the right decisions, and informed decisions)

9.   Show passion (Don’t be boorish, bullish or domineering, but demonstrate your drive)

10.  Clean your shoes (if not, you don’t quite care enough).

Enough said.  How does your CEO score…..and do you trust him/her?

Nailia Tasseel