What does #Trust mean?

I’ve thought a lot recently on what it means to truly trust your teammates. I think there are a lot of  different flavours of trust out there. I like to think that there are three levels of trust:

1) Direct – this actually isn’t a level of trust at all. Although some people view it as trust. Directing is getting another person to do something exactly the same way you would do it. There usually isn’t much empowerment of the other person at all to complete the task as how they see fit. This actually isn’t much fun for either party.

2) Delegate – this is a step in the right trust direction. Delegating is similar to directing the person, except that there is much greater level of autonomy and empowerment given to the person. No longer does the person need to do the task exactly as directed, there is much more lee way in how they complete the task. But with delegating, the ultimate control or direction is still maintained by the delegator.

3) Trust – the final step is beyond delegating. To me what this level means is that you 100% empower the other person to complete the task in any way they see fit. You provide them with the objective that needs to be accomplished and step away.

I think I finally encountered this final level of trust on my recent project. Even though I thought I trusted people before, I believe I was only delegating. This was due to the fact that if I disagreed with the direction, I couldn’t help but to override the team and provide direction. (No matter how polite I was.) 🙂

When you truly trust somebody, you embrace their ideas and designs when they contradict your own ideas and experience. You fully give yourself to support their ideas no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask questions to ask if they have considered various factors, but the ultimate decision is theirs.

This point was driven home to me when I believed the direction the team was taking was wrong. I did step back and the team proceeded with their direction, but in my smugness I thought it would be a good learning experience for them. Actually, their solution ended up being better than mine because of various factors. I wasn’t aware of all the context they had and frankly they were smarter than me. 🙂

I learned that day that I need to trust more and delegate less.

Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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