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Where’s the trust in leadership?

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Why doesn’t the public trust CEOs?

Consumers are slightly more confident in business honchos this year, compared to last year, reports the Edelman Trust Barometer. The survey showed that 54% of respondents trust business to do what’s right, up from 50% last year.

But CEO credibility still remains low, and the survey suggests at least one reason why: Asked whether CEOs were credible spokespeople, only 26% of U.S. respondents said yes.

“I hope [U.S.] CEOs don’t take the wrong message, which would be: ‘I’m not credible, so I better not talk,’” says Richard Edelman.

Instead, CEOs must change both their tone and their audience. CEOs need to be “genuine, spontaneous, and talk about things beyond the numbers. They need to be talking not just to elites but to customers and employees,” he says.

When you’re in front of employees, talk about what they want to hear, such as pay and benefits, says Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist for public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

And don’t despair: Gaines-Ross points out that although people may distrust CEOs as a group, they generally do trust their own leaders.

— Adapted from “CEOs Still Have A Credibility Gap,” Kimberly Weisul, BusinessWeek.

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