Workplace Survey: People Trust Each Other Less & Are More Skeptical of Company Leaders . . . 2010 Survey Shows Negative Shift in Key Measures of Workplace Trust & Leadership

Major Implication for Business: Is This the New Normal?

(Cambridge, MA) —- New findings in an Interaction Associates 2010 workplace survey point to a downward shift in key indicators for trust, leadership, and collaboration: indicating a worsening climate around those issues generally.

The 2010 workplace survey of nearly 200 business leaders updates major 2009 research by Interaction Associates, detailed in a report Building Trust in Business, which showed how high performing companies achieve key business results by emphasizing trust, leadership, and collaboration.

“Our 2010 survey is a quick pulse-check to refresh the 2009 Building Trust results — and we’re seeing that things are getting worse, particularly around trust and leadership,” according to Andy Atkins, Director of Research and Development for Interaction Associates. “The alarming trends point to negative shifts for many companies, which also means the formula for success at top-performing companies is the one to emulate,” added Atkins.

Around trust issues, the 2010 survey indicates that employees feel safe communicating with leaders and taking risks, but there is considerably less trust among peers. The average or mean response of people surveyed dropped 18 percent on the question of people feeling safe communicating ideas and opinions with colleagues and peers. Additionally, the 2010 survey found work environments are more secretive and less transparent. When asked if people in their organization have a sense of shared commitment and responsibility, the average response dropped 23 percent in one year.

For leadership issues, the 2010 survey findings give leaders high marks for communicating change — but there are downward shifts around communicating a clear purpose and for making sound decisions. On the subject of whether leadership effectively communicates mission, vision, and strategy of the company, the average response dropped 25 percent in the 2010 survey. What’s more, the 2010 survey saw a 26 percent drop in average response on the issue of whether leaders reflect realistic optimism and confidence in the future.

Around collaboration generally, leaders are widely credited for following formal process steps in decision-making, meetings discipline, and appropriate levels of involvement. But informal linkages are breaking down in the 2010 survey, including information and expertise sharing. Overall, management is viewed as less supportive of collaboration in the 2010 findings.

“Yes, there’s a downward shift and it’s critically important to understand,” said Andy Atkins. “But keep in mind that strongly-performing companies still get excellent results by focusing on behaviors and practices that build trust, empower leadership, and strengthen collaboration. We captured the recipe that high-performers use, and others can use it successfully,” said Atkins.

The 2009 Building Trust in Business research report also includes a powerful toolkit developed by Interaction Associates to enable leaders to achieve fast results in the areas of trust, leadership, and collaboration.

-Get the full “Building Trust in Business” report featuring detailed analysis of the research findings and the complete toolkit – download for free here:
-Download an Executive Summary at:
-View a free recorded webinar exploring the research results:

About Interaction Associates
Interaction Associates (IA) has 40 years’ experience in helping companies find breakthrough solutions to business challenges. Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the world have used IA’s integrated management consulting and learning and development services. Interaction Associates helps these enterprises set strategic direction, inspire commitment, and build leadership capabilities, leveraging the power of collaborative action for long-term, sustainable results Learn more at

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