Unveiling the Magic of Authenticity: The Project Manager’s Guide to Building Trust

By Kiran P Ashtekar, 
Group Manager – Global Delivery
SunTec Business Solutions          

Ah! The rollercoaster ride of project management! After a decade and a half of navigating the twists and turns, it’s become crystal clear that without the secret sauce of authenticity, this ride can quickly turn into a haunted house of missed deadlines and shaky relationships. Trust me, you don’t want to get lost in that spooky mansion!

Picture this: you’ve got a team juggling more tasks than a circus performer, clients breathing down your neck like a dragon in pursuit, and stakeholders peering over your shoulder like eager spectators at a magic show. What’s the trick to keeping everyone on board and not sawing your project in half? It’s simple – authenticity!

Let’s break it down. Authenticity is like the project management version of a trust fall. When you’re transparent about the challenges you’re facing, it’s like saying, “Hey, team, I’m not wearing a safety net, but I trust you to catch me!” Now, imagine you’re the captain of a ship sailing through stormy seas of deadlines. Your crew is looking at you with wide eyes, hoping you’ve got the map to navigate through this mess. Being authentic here means you don’t pretend to be a mythical sea god with all the answers; you’re honest about the uncertain waters ahead. You might crack a joke about the tempest to lighten the mood, showing your crew that even in turbulent times, you’re all in the same boat.

What really works in such a situation is being authentic and willing to do anything possible, thus ensuring that trust is retained.

Here are some tips from my life as a Project Manager:

  1. Embrace Transparency: Imagine you’re unravelling a mysterious plot. Keep your team in the loop about project developments, even the unexpected twists. Transparency builds trust — show your team you trust them enough to share the full story. Similarly, keep your clients informed about project progress and any hurdles encountered. Transparent communication with clients fosters a sense of partnership and reassures them that you have their best interests at heart.
  2. Show Vulnerability: Remember, even superheroes have their weakness. Admitting when you don’t have all the answers or when you’ve made a mistake humanizes you. It shows your team and clients that you’re not afraid to be genuine, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation. Sharing the project’s challenges with clients, along with your strategies for overcoming them, demonstrates your commitment to their project’s success and solidifies their trust in your abilities.
  3. Encourage Open Dialog: Picture a roundtable discussion in King Arthur’s court. Encourage your team to voice their ideas and concerns freely. Actively listen and consider their input. This not only fosters a culture of inclusivity but also demonstrates your respect for their contributions, building a robust foundation of trust. Similarly, encourage open communication with clients, inviting their feedback and insights. By valuing their input, you strengthen the client-manager relationship, fostering a collaborative atmosphere built on trust and mutual respect.

In an ever-unpredictable journey of project management, authenticity stands as the reliable compass guiding us through the murky waters of deadlines and expectations. So, my fellow project adventurers, remember the magic of authenticity: embrace transparency, don’t be afraid to show vulnerability, keep the conversation flowing, and lead by example. With these tools in your project management kit, you’ll not only build trust but also weave a tapestry of solidarity and success, turning even the most daunting challenges into feats worthy of legend.

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