When leaders admit their mistakes, apologize, and take actions to improve the situations they find themselves and their organizations in, those actions go a long way towards rebuilding trust with their stakeholders. The first way a leader can rebuild trust is by demonstrating his/her reliability:
The next way a leader can build trust is by being transparent in his/her actions: by explaining his/her decisions and widely sharing information. Everyone wants to be on the same page and understand where the organization is headed.
Next, we want to know that our leaders are competent to carry us through these uncertain economic times. Leaders must convincingly demonstrate that they have the knowledge and capability to do what they say they are going to do, and make sure that rhetoric is matched by results.
Finally, we just want to know that our leaders care about us, our jobs, our organizations, and the economy overall. The millions who are unemployed and the many millions more concerned about their job security need to believe that those at the top will do what is necessary to ensure that the fruits of corporate success will not be reserved for the few. They want business leaders to demonstrate true compassion: acknowledging that there should be a job for every person who wants a job, that the welfare of employees and communities matter as much as for employees as for shareholders.
When our leaders take the initiative to rebuild trust in themselves and their organizations, we will see new economic growth and a more positive outlook. It is time to combat our trust deficit.