After two decades delivering major projects I’ve learned that above all else, success is what people think, feel and say about you. It’s about the relationship you have with people, how engaged they are, and ultimately how much they trust you.

If you’re dubious about the role of trust in your success, don’t be. Just look at the trusted people around you.

  1. Leaders tap them on the shoulder more.
  2. Customers flock to do business with them more.
  3. Peers look to them for advice more.
  4. Their team goes above and beyond for them more.

Trust makes your job and the job of people around you easier, more enjoyable, and everyone gets results!

What is trust?

Last week I was talking to a client whose customer doesn’t trust their project manager. The project manager is experienced, qualified and respected by the organisation, so why doesn’t the customer trust him?

Trust is fundamentally about risk. To achieve a goal, the trustor looks for someone that is trustworthy to reduce the risk and deliver it. They find someone with the right experience, someone that they respect and can work with, but this person often isn’t automatically trusted.

Trust is something that takes time to build. It’s a relationship, a two-way interaction. You have to trust and be trusted. It’s what someone thinks, feels, and says about you.




The importance of what people think

At the heart of trust is whether people think you are competent. This competence comes from things like qualifications, proven delivery, and reputation. Trust isn’t a free gift that comes with your job title, that just proves that you’re employable. Have the right conversations and do the right things to prove your competence and your trust and success will grow.

How you make people feel

Ever had a “bad feeling” about someone? It’s because, when you don’t trust someone, you feel it! Your body has a chemical response to it. There is something about their principles and how they operate that doesn’t align with yours. Trust requires a connection, you have to have integrity, be consistent with your values and transparent with your motivation. If you’re not, people will feel that something doesn’t smell right, long before they have the facts to prove it.

What people say as a result

Trust ultimately manifests itself in what people say. You receive more credit, more referrals, and more recognition. Your team love working with you and your customers can’t imagine working with anyone else! Everybody thrives and it’s what makes you successful.

If you are concerned how a lack of trust is impacting your project or want to learn more about becoming a trusted project manager, please contact me at to discuss my training and mentoring programs.