How to Rebuild Trust With Your Project Team

Would you know how to rebuild trust with your project team?

Trust is a big thing, especially in the relationships that we have with our team.  It is essential to have the type of relationship where people will go the extra mile for you, no matter what.  They trust that you will deliver for them, just as you trust they will deliver for you.

When this trust breaks down though it leads to miscommunication, hiding of information and knowledge, and a general sense of dissension within the team.

Have you assessed recently how good the trust is among your team, or between you and your team?  If you’ve noticed a lack of trust then these ideas might help you to rebuild the trust in your project team.

Listen first

The best way to begin to rebuild trust is to listen.  That may take a lot of effort as our first reaction a lot of times is to want to respond or comment when someone starts to talk.

A person will feel more trusting of you, if you are open to being silent and really listen to what they are saying. Remember, they don’t trust you, for whatever reason.  You are wanting to change that, so be open to doing things differently.

Listen first. Really hear what the other person has to say.  Drop your story and listen.

Play back your understanding

What is playing back your understanding?  Basically it’s about summarizing what the other person has said. Or, it may be capturing what they said on a white board.  By putting it in writing you are showing them you were really listening to them.

When you play back your understanding, you are affirming that you were listening.  You show the other person your level of understanding of what they have said to you.

Remember that the purpose of rebuilding trust is to have the other person begin to see you differently.

Be trustworthy

It may be fine to want to rebuild trust and yet you can’t be trusted. Your actions say this to your team.  You don’t deliver when you say you will.  You aren’t supportive when they want support. These actions show that you aren’t trustworthy.

If these are the things you do then you are going to want to consider how you can change and begin to be trusted again, by your team.

Here are the four pieces of being trustworthy

    • integrity – “is where there is no gap between intent and behavior. When you are whole, seamless, the same – inside and out.”
    • intent – “is the motive, agenda and behavior behind what you do and how you do it.”
    • capabilities – “the talents, skills, knowledge, capacities, and abilities we have that enable us to perform with excellence.”
    • results – “Results matter! They matter to your credibility”

This podcast episode dives into this issue of how to rebuild trust using an example from my own experience with two warring teams on a project I was managing.

* * Quotes are from the book ‘The Speed of Trust’ by Steven R. Covey.