Building Trust among the Team for Project Success Is Important
Building trust among the team members as well as between the team members and yourself, as the project manager, is crucial to the success of the project regardless of its nature, scope and duration. Keep in mind that trust, both on the professional and personal level among the team members and manager, is the foundation upon which everybody can contribute in an effective, efficient and productive manner to their overall success. Indeed, it can be said that successful project management starts and ends with trust that everybody is performing as expected and delivering on results as agreed.
With trust in your capacity as project manager, team members are more likely to ask the right questions, contribute to the achievements of the right results, and taking the right risks, all in the interests of pushing the team and its project in the right direction at the right time. By cultivating the right environment for productivity, team members are also more likely to be loyal dedicated and committed to the team and to the project – and these are the traits that not even the best project management software can provide for the team.
In project management, trust can be defined as the belief that the person who is being trusted can and will do as agreed upon and as expected based on the project’s parameters. This applies to both the project manager and the team members since each person has specific roles and responsibilities, which complement the others’ roles and responsibilities as well as contribute to the whole.
Trust is also crucial in project management in terms of social influence. According to psychologists, it is easier to persuade and influence others when trust is present between the influencer and the target audience. This is true regardless of the ways in which the trust between the parties was established, such as via prior work as a team or via introductions as an expert in the field. Even the perception of competence, compassion and honesty can establish and strengthen feelings of trust among the team members and the project manager.
It must be emphasised, too, that the three different types of trust are just as important in project management as in personal relationships.
- Trust implies vulnerability to someone’s decisions and actions. Project managers and their team members expose themselves in so many ways, such as their personal reputation and their professional advancement, when they entrust certain decisions and actions to others. This is especially true in high-risk, high-cost projects where decisions outside of the realm of the project management software should be made by any of the team members that, in turn, will affect the entire team’s performance.
- Trust implies the ability to inspire positive expectations and actions from others. Keep in mind that project management practitioners are required to inspire and motivate their followers and colleagues – and trust is a crucial part of social influence, as previously mentioned.
- Trust is the propensity or ability to rely on other people. Such reliance means being able to trust that the other person is dependable and, thus, will deliver on the expected results.
As with personal relationships, people who are involved in project management know that there is a clear delineation between building and destroying trust. When one form of trust is lost in any manner, then it can be very difficult to regain and then retain. Indeed, being, looking and acting trustworthy are a must for maintaining the desired trust level so much so that missing out on one aspect can jeopardize everything else.
Trust has deeper implications in organisational settings, too. Social scientists, not to mention your common sense borne of experience in project management, say that trust has a positive influence on the perceptions, performances and behaviours of a person or a group of persons. For example, a single team member may not have full trust in a project manager’s capacity to lead the team to success such that he refuses, subtly or deliberately, to contribute to its overall success.
Furthermore, trust and integrity in the organisation has a circular relationship. Think about it: When you believe that the team has fair policies and practices, you are more likely to trust in the team including its members and leaders. When you have trust, you will likely promote integrity in your team.
The bottom line: Project managers must build, maintain and strengthen trust among his team members for their overall success. When there are issues with trust, these should be identified and addressed before these undermine the team’s success in the future and, as a consequence, the personal and professional lives of the team members including the leader.
Benefits of Building Trust for Project Success
Here are the specific benefits that project management leaders can reap with their ability to build, maintain and strengthen trust within the team, even with people outside of the team like the client, vendors and stakeholders in the project.
Team members who trust their peers and leaders are more likely to focus on their jobs without the distractions of petty arguments and the like, thus, resulting in higher productivity. Such trust also allows them to work well on their jobs while comfortable in the knowledge that their teammates will deliver on their jobs, too. Even when emergencies arise and the expected deliverables are not delivered, the team members pitch in based on their mutual trust. With higher productivity come higher chances for project management success!
Successful project teams communicate well not just with each other but with their sponsors, vendors and stakeholders. When trust is present, they are more likely to share information willingly, to help other immediately, and to address issues effectively, all of which contribute to their overall success. Even the best project management software with its advanced communication technology will be insufficient for successful communication when trust is absent.
Trust also enables the team members to innovate, even to take risks and exploit opportunities, which contribute to the team’s overall success. We all know the importance of innovation in our fast-changing world.
Other benefits of trust in project management include better accountability, transparency and personal relationships. Start building trust now!