Top bosses in local and national government are the least trusted by their employees, according to new research.
The Institute of Leadership and Management found levels of trust in CEOs overall have fallen in the last seven years.
Women leaders and managers are more trusted than men and trust in line managers has remained the same, according to the survey of more than 800 leaders and managers.
One council leader blamed funding cuts for declining levels of trust because it forced them to make unpopular decisions.
Respondents to the institute's survey said the biggest problem for CEOs was failing to understand the role of their employees and the contributions they make.
Cllr Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: 'With ongoing funding reductions from central government, local government is being forced to make difficult decisions that affect the public’s trust in local leaders.
'Our employees, many of whom are local residents and users of local services look to us for strong, consistent leadership in the most challenging period of local government history in decades.'
Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: 'Headlines about high levels of CEO remuneration, putting their own interests over those of the company and, most importantly, their employees, haven’t helped the situation, so it’s not surprising levels of trust have fallen over the last few years.
'Our research clearly shows there is a lack of trust at the top level, but interestingly, it is being maintained at the more personal level of line manager. This is bad news for CEOs and should be a wake-up call for them. For any organisation to be successful, trust is not "a nice to have", but is intrinsic to the culture of the organisation.
The research found that CEOs in the financial services sector attract the most trust.