You’re a team, working together to deliver the project’s business outcomes. If you can’t trust each other you won’t succeed.
You need to be able to trust your team’s competency, honesty and loyalty. That they’ll do what they said they’d do, on time and to the required quality. That their word is their bond, and you can trust their reporting. That once a decision is made or a direction agreed, the debate is over and they’ll overtly support it and not try to undermine it behind the scenes.
A pre-requisite to expecting trustworthiness from your project leadership team is to be trustworthy yourself. (Those who don’t trust others are usually untrustworthy.)
But you need to set the ground rules with your team upfront.
Competency. Tell them, “You have a specific role to play and I won’t second guess you as long as you perform. I’ll be there to support you. But, if things start to go wrong and you don’t put your hand up for help; I’ll be down on you like a ton of bricks.”
Make not asking for help a capital crime!
Honesty. Tell them: “I want to know the truth, warts and all. Not the cleaned up version or the almost right version. If you haven’t finished a task, but expect to finish it tomorrow, then you haven’t finished. Don’t gloss over the edges, the minor problems, the slight delays. We’re all in this together, so let us all know how things really are. Projects go off-the-rails 1 degree at a time. We all need to know every degree or degree of a degree we’re adrift.”
Make dishonest reporting a capital crime!
Loyalty. You don’t want ‘yes-men’ (or women) around you; that’s fatal. Equally, you must be honest and openly welcome debate and prepared to change your mind.
So when issues, challenges, options and opportunities arise you want a full and sensible debate — no personalities, just professional argument. Then tell them:
“But once we’ve agreed, that’s it. Debate over. We are ALL agreed. It can be hard when the project leadership team takes decisions you fundamentally disagree with, but you’re either on the team or not. You need to follow the party line and not make comments to your staff like, ‘Of course, I think this is stupid’— you must support and work with the agreed decision.”
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