People can work together even if they do not trust each other, but only people who trust each other can collaborate efficiently. Project managers who do not trust their teams tend to engage in micromanagement, which translates into ineffective project work. Team members who do not trust each other spend energy on protecting each other’s interests and hiding relevant information, which may lead to the project’s failure. A project manager that lacks his or her team’s trust endangers the project, as team members are likely to feel unmotivated to complete the work and unlikely to communicate their ideas openly. Without trust, no effective collaboration or knowledge sharing is possible.
If you have yet to earn your team’s trust, you are likely struggling to lead your team. They may suspect that every recommendation you make is only in your own interest and not the team’s. You are likely finding that your ideas are difficult to implement, and you spend a lot of energy on trying to convince people that you are right.
How do you earn your project team members’ trust?
Progressively, in time. You do not gain people’s trust as you would gain a prize. You accumulate bits of trust, and you preserve that trust through your actions and words. It may take you a lot of time and effort to build up a decent amount of trust that allows for effective collaboration with your project team. And sometimes it is impossible to gain everyone’s trust.
What is trust?
Trust is intangible, and it means different things to different people. In general, having your team’s trust means that people believe:
- What you say is true: Communicate effectively and be transparent with your decisions and the way you lead the project. Demonstrate you have no interests that conflict with those of your team members. They should trust that you are all working together towards the same goals.
- You do what you say: Keep all of your commitments and build a record of respected promises.
- You are open with your intentions: Communicate effectively and keep everyone “in the loop.”
- You are qualified for your job: Demonstrate your project management skills rather than boast that you have the right PM qualifications or experience. Be consistent in your decisions and treat everyone fairly.
- You trust them: Trust comes both ways. Have confidence in your team members’ skills and their capacity to deliver what they promise. (more…)