Every organisation knows that trust is crucial to make sure that employees and managers enjoy strong and fruitful relationships. As recent scandals in the NHS and financial services industries have demonstrated, crises of trust can have huge implications for both employer staff relations and the organisation’s external reputation.
Now, new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has looked into how businesses recruit leaders and found that a different approach to interviews could help them find trustworthy candidates.
‘Cultivating trustworthy leaders’ says that values-based interviews, where candidates for managerial roles are asked to talk about their beliefs and values, can help recruiters to get a fuller sense of how trustworthy they would be as a leader.
There are four main characteristics of a trustworthy leader, according to CIPD – ability, benevolence, integrity and predictability. Although the standard HR processes and systems commonly used in recruitment were fairly helpful in getting a sense of ability and predictability, they were less suited to measuring the benevolence and integrity of the candidate.
As well as using HR processes, the study found that interviewers also need the freedom to speak on an individual level and make a personal judgment about the trustworthiness of a candidate.
“The softer elements of trustworthiness, benevolence and integrity, were much more dependent upon assessing an individual as a whole person,” said Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, dean of the school of management at the University of Bath and leader of the research.
“This means considering a potential leader’s personal conduct inside and outside the workplace, and how their personal moral code would fit with the overall organisational culture.”
In addition, the report argues that leaders should be encouraged to share personal stories that reflect their personal stories, so that their staff get a sense of them as human beings rather than robots.
It also suggests employers should provide masterclasses on self-awareness to give managers a better idea of how they may come across to others, as well as providing them with feedback from all different areas of business, including the people they manage.