Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson report startling and compelling research on trust and Millennials in their new book, “What Millennials Want from Work”. In this global research they collated data from of over 25,000 Millennials and 29,000 other generations on millennials and work.
In their section on trust, they report that only “38% of Millennials trust their boss a lot and only 33% say they trust the people they work with a lot. “ My reaction is….What is the root cause of this lack of trust? And how do we respond to a generation that is reluctant to trust?
Deal and Leveson also found that 15% of Millennials don’t trust the police in their community, 35% don’t trust the media and 29% don’t trust the banking industry. How we discern the variables contributing to this wide ranging lack of trust? Is it, as Deal and Leveson posit, because Millennials don’t’ feel trusted themselves? Or is “lack of trust” a national trend across generations?
Based on recent media reports, I am beginning to wonder if we have a national epidemic of “lack of trust”. Deal and Leveson write that Millennial employees today, “have very sensitive lie detectors. They can sense when people are being inauthentic or dishonest…” I wonder if this “sensitive lie detector” applies to all generations, where trust has been broken and we don’t know how to begin to repair it.
How can we begin to repair this broken trust between people, communities, and systems. I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that what Isaac Watt wrote “learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks”. My work has shown me that it is particularly true when trust has been broken.
How can we work together to begin to learn to trust each other again? Or maybe the question is, do we want to learn to trust again?