Fewer than one in five people trust business or government leaders to tell the truth when confronted with a difficult issue, according to a yearly “trust barometer” survey by the giant public relations firm Edelman. A number of high-visibility scandals involving CEOs and government officials last year likely pushed the barometer away from trust in leaders. Ex-Barclays CEO Robert Diamond quit in July after revelations that the bank had been involved in an international scheme to manipulate interbank lending rates. The conviction of former McKinsey CEO Rajat Gupta for insider trading was also splashed across the headlines, as was the corruption case against former Chinese communist party official Bo Xilai. “We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, in a statement. Read more
Gupta's conviction was a drop in the bucket but at least it was a start. I would trust bankers and government leaders more if instead of "May I take your order?" (Blog entry on Sunday re a la carte banking) a few of them were asking "Yes, warden?" or became unemployed and forfeited their golden parachutes.
The likelihood of being held personally accountable for one's actions (with prison time and serious financial repercussions such as clawback provisions, for example) may be an effective incentive to act truthfully and with integrity.