University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

Experiencing Trustworthy Leaders Conference

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The School of Management welcomed 90 leading employers, HR professionals, policy makers and researchers to a conference on Thursday 11 September to discuss the outcome of a three year research project carried out in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), exploring the hallmarks of trusted leaders.

The study, led by Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Dean of the School of Management, looked at 22 significant public and private sector organisations including the John Lewis Partnership, HMRC, the BBC, Unilever, and the NHS. 
The study produced three reports, the last of which, Experiencing Trustworthy Leaders, was launched at the conference. This third and final report explores how followers experience trustworthy senior leaders within some of the UK’s major corporations and institutions.

13 of the leading employers that participated in the research including John Lewis, BBC Worldwide and the NHS, presented their own perspectives and discussed their individual leadership styles.

Live 360 degree performance review, walking the corridors and being prepared to get your hands dirty were just some of the ways leaders of these organisations are helping to instil trust in their organisations.

The research showed that highly trusted leaders were seen to be ‘intensely human’ showing and sharing their own weakness and vulnerability. This, and a commitment to face to face communication, made others trust them more.

Professor Veronica Hope Hailey said:
“Our research shows that, throughout the aftermath of the financial crisis, through waves of downsizing and restructuring, salary cuts and divestments, there were individual leaders and organisations who kept and cultivated the trust of their customers and employees despite all those around them losing ground. 

“Organisations like the John Lewis Partnership, Unilever, BAE, BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, HMRC, GKN and some leaders in the NHS demonstrated this ability. Their high levels of integrity delivered tangible business benefits to their organisations but their motivations for the display of that integrity lay beyond the bottom line.

“These senior leaders had a natural sense of concern for others, whether those "others" were employees inside the organisation or people outside in the market place or community. That somewhat old fashioned benevolence galvanised them to demonstrate their people centredness on an everyday basis through their behaviours towards others. Noticeably they did not rely on twitter accounts alone to communicate nor did they frequently escape to the comfort and other worldliness of a business class aircraft cabin but instead sought to visibly dialogue with customers and employees at every possible opportunity.”

The research and conference was jointly funded by the CIPD and the University of Bath Higher Education Fund.

Notes to Editors

The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. It has over 130,000 members internationally working in HR, learning and development, people management and consulting across private businesses and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors.

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General Notes For Editors:

The School of Management is one of the UK's leading business schools. Currently ranked 1st for Student Experience (Times Higher Education 2015) and 1st for Business Studies (The Times & Sunday Times University Guide 2016), we are a leading centre for management research - placed 8th in the UK in the latest REF2014.

We are one of a select number of international business schools accredited by EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Development's quality inspectorate and the Bath MBA has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) since 1976.

The centrality of research to teaching is an essential feature of all our programmes. The School offers a full range of programmes from undergraduate to postgraduate up to PhD level and post-experience programmes including the world-ranked Bath MBA. The School also provides tailored executive development programmes for middle and senior management.

The School of Management has a faculty of over 100 teaching and research staff, including visiting academics, with a professional support team of around 90 managerial and administrative staff. Research income averages £2 million per annum. There are approximately 2,400 students in total comprising some 150 MBA students, over 500 Master’s students, 250 full- and part-time research students, and over 1500 undergraduates following BSc degrees.