3 Behaviors That Show Distrust In Someone

Distrust can create difficulties for any team. Mistrust on a project team can make the difference between it being successful or not.  And I say that because when team members don’t feel trusted they are less likely to contribute to their best ability.

There are three things that show a project team member that you don’t trust them and what they are doing.

Constantly ask how they are tracking 

Why would you constantly ask someone how they are tracking?  Because you don’t trust that they are completing the things that you believe they need to complete.

You have a story that says they aren’t coping with their workload, or they don’t have the necessary skills to do what’s required.  And notice I said, it’s a story.

If you are constantly asking someone how they are tracking you are asking the wrong question.

A better approach is to ask them if there is anything they need from you.  Talk to them about any difficulties they may be having. You will usually get a feel for whether they are holding out on you and not telling the truth.

Then it’s time to dive into a different sort of conversation.  And notice that you are the one that doesn’t trust.

They might think they are more than capable of completing the desired task. Your doubt is creating their own sense of self-protection.

Distrust is destructive to team cohesion and productive output.

Follow up everything they say in writing

Following up every piece of conversation you have with someone, in writing, is the most unsettling thing you can do.  And one that leads to people not opening or reading your emails.

Why would a team member open an email that is full of questions and nitpicking about what they are doing?

Bottom line is they wouldn’t. Would you?  I’m guessing not.

If you have questions about what they are doing and why have a face-to-face conversation. This is NOT the type of conversation to have in an email.

Be open and listen to what the team member is saying. Go into the meeting with them without a story.  That is the only way you will hear the truth.

Having distrust in them and their output won’t support you in successful delivery.

IF you really need to cover yourself because that team member isn’t delivering and you are working with HR because it’s a performance issue, that’s different.  Hopefully, it doesn’t get to that, or it’s not your place to move the conversation that way.

Want to know exactly what they are doing in minute detail

If you are the type of Project Manager that feels the need to micromanage everyone, then you are the one with the problem. Not the team member.

It’s not your job to know every minute detail of what they are doing every minute of the day. Did you hear that?

Who is it that you don’t trust, really?  Is it them, or is it you. I’m going to guess that you don’t trust yourself to manage the project or handle any issues that arise.  That is not their problem.  It’s yours.

So take stock and notice who is really distrusting in the relationship and stop the micromanaging.  That’s it. Simple.

These three things are part of the full list of 7 ways to really upset someone on your team. To find out what the other four things are, listen to this episode of Project Management Insights.