Significance of Trust in a Team:
Regardless of a project’s nature, scope, and duration, as a project manager, it is your responsibility to build trust among the team members as well as between yourself and the team members. Trust is the foundation upon which you and your team members can contribute in a productive and effective manner.
Without trust, there is no team but only a group of individuals working together and performing poorly. Trust means that you rely on someone else to do the right thing while having faith in their strength and integrity. Trust is essential for a team to work effectively or else they would fight over the tiniest things, not share information or cooperate with each other. Trust offers a sense of safety and when the team members feel safe with each other, they feel comfortable and take the appropriate risks. Each of the team members feels stronger as they consider themselves an integral part of the team whom the rest of the members trust to do their job. A team is able to achieve their goal when they trust each other.
It is up to the project manager to foster trust within their team. The best way to build trust among the team is to lead by example. Always communicate the truth even if it is hard.
Here are some other tips to build trust in your team:
Be honest and communicate the truth. Always. Sugarcoating a few facts for a while might make it easier for you but when things get bad, it will be a lot to handle. If there are going to issues or problems in the completion of the project, let them know. When you hide things, your team will see it as deception. So, always be truthful about the reality so that they trust you and respect you for maintaining honesty with them from the beginning. Share updates often and be transparent. The channels of communication should always be open. This is necessary because when people don’t know anything, they make their own assumptions. If you have limited information, pass it on and let them know you will update them when you know more.
Stick to Your Words and Commitment:
If you want to do something and have told your team members that you will do it with no exception, then fulfill your word. Be wise in your commitments. As stated earlier, lead them by example. If you do this, your team member will do the same. You have to be the example to tell them the behavior you want from them.
Schedule individual meetings with your team members and ask them how they are doing. This would not only boost your relationship with them but also show them that you care for your team members. It will go a long way to assist them in trusting you. It also creates a rapport between you and your team that creates an honest relationship. They will feel themselves at ease with you and share their views easily.
Encourage Independent Ideas:
You can be wrong sometimes too. Sometimes, your way will not be the best option to go with. A team has people with a variety of talents and diverse experiences. They might also know things you don’t. Encourage the team members and boost their confidence. Let them demonstrate their knowledge to you. If they think they can try a different approach or method to do something, let them try. This gives them confidence that you respect and trust their talents.
Ask For Honest Feedback:
The best thing you can do to show your team that you trust them is to ask for their ideas and insights. Show them that you value their opinions, concerns, and input. At the same time, be honest with your feedback. This creates an honest relationship between you and your team. Honesty boosts trust. Give constructive criticism in such a way that motivates the team members.
Be the Support they see:
Your team should see that you work too. If you just give orders and don’t do any work, you will come off as an arrogant project manager. There is no harm in getting your hands dirty every now and then so that your team can not only see but appreciate that you work alongside with them. Spend some time with them and help them along the way. This way, they can see that they can rely on you when the going gets tough.
Things fall apart sometimes. Your ideas won’t work and you might have to think of another suitable alternative in the last minutes. Sometimes, you get a negative feedback when the project is about to complete. When things go wrong, you should be able to take responsibility for that and show support to your team. When you show solidarity to your team, it is the best way to show your team that you care and they are able to trust you more. They will trust your judgment and take the news with an open mind if they find out that they have to more work at the last minute.
If the team has become disappointed due to some reasons and lack trust, here are some tips to rebuild trust:
- It takes a long time to rebuild trust. When the team gets disappointed, you will have to work harder to regain their trust. Realize that the process will take time.
- Admit that you were mistaken. Let go of all the excuses and clarification. Tell your team that your judgment/decision was wrong. Admitting where you messed up is a big step.
- Fulfill any commitment that you make. Do what you say you are going to do. When your team sees fulfilling your promises, they will gradually begin to trust you again.
Trust is a fragile thing. It takes years to build and a moment to break. Whether it is personal or professional, trust is the foundation of every relationship and when there is trust in a team, the goals are achieved effectively and efficiently.