Where have all the cowboys gone?

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By: Center For Worklife - Expert Reviewer

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Trust forms the foundation for higher levels of retention, productivity, performance and citizenship behavior which are the “above and beyond” behaviors that lead and contribute to organizational success.

According to a recent study by Center for Work Life conducted among more than 500 organizations large, medium and small, it was found that trust in the work place took a nosedive since 2009 and has continued to decline each year during the recession.

In 2012, barely a quarter of respondents indicated that they trust their leadership.  Although many employees are skeptical of their leaders, nearly three quarters report that they are very much inclined to trust their coworkers.

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Table of Contents

Together, these findings indicate that while the relationship between employee and employer lacks trust, employees have built trusting relationships together.  It is possible that several behaviors may help establish and maintain trust in peer-to-peer relationships more frequently.  These behaviors could include time spent, regular communication, and social interactions outside of the work schedule. The attached picture is a game we use during our teambuilding events at the center.

What can leaders take away from this?  Leaders can use some of these behaviors to build organizational trust such as:

  1. planning for events where there is “wiggle room” and casualness.
  2. Find opportunities to connect in a more deeper level
  3. Stay visible and exude approachability
  4. communicate in “everyday language”
  5. Show genuine interest in employees and their passions and interests


Whether a leaders or a performer, Buyer, or seller, trust is king, earn it and guard it with your life.

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