These dimensions, weighted by the importance respondents applied to them, were then examined against a number of factors, ranging from the size of the organisation and its industry sector to the age and gender of manager and employee, plus the length of their service and relationship with leaders and managers. Confidence in the boss' ability to do their job is the most important factor in breeding trust among the workforce. Almost as important is the ability to demonstrate a strong sense of personal integrity. The other factors were seen as being far less important than ability and integrity. The drivers of trust in line managers are more diverse. Once again, ability is top of the list of characteristics, but integrity is marginally outweighed in importance by line managers’ understanding of the needs and abilities of others, and matched by fairness in the way that they treat them.
The longer bosses and line managers have been in post the more trust employees have in them. Conversely, the longer an employee has been with the organisation the less they trust their management team. This apparent contradiction can be explained by the effect of the length of relationship between manager and managed. Trust is at its highest between a new employee and long-serving managers, and at its lowest when a long-serving employee is working under a new leader.