Trust in politicians has evaporated. Consumer trust in brands is at an all-time low. And too many executives don’t trust their bosses.

What’s the problem?

Perhaps it’s professionalism? Brexit, for example, is a tough (and stupid) challenge – but the politicians in charge are mostly tenured and experienced. Most branded products have a rather high standard. And most bosses, at least on paper, are professionally qualified. So it’s probably not that.

Could intimacy be at play? It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know. That said, many politicians are well known. So are many brands. And many people spend more time with their bosses than with their spouses. It’s probably not that either.

Trust equals professionalism times intimacy, divided by ego. The trust problem of our times is ego. Politicians talk patriotism but, in reality, pursue career goals (watch any recent UK House of Commons debate and you’ll see it).

Brands warble on about purpose, then Nutella secretly adds sugar to save costly cocoa, Toblerone reduces it’s bar-size to raise the price, and Lufthansa sues passengers who don’t use all parts of their tickets (no kidding).

And bosses? Some take the corner office, show off in meetings, but hide when it’s their turn.

People can smell your ego from afar – and ego kills trust in seconds. And without trust, we stall.

Try This >>

If you are an egoistic narcissist, and your main interest is your own success, ditch this column – it won’t make a difference to you.

But if you are in the business of change. If you desire trust and respect to make things better for your brand, for your company, for your community: ditch your ego. Make the corner office a team room. Let others present. Have lunch with those who lead your office – and those who clean it.

And if you find taming your ego difficult: talk about it. Everybody knows Toblerone must turn in a profit. Everybody knows you have personal goals too. Talking about your ego is the first step to taming it.